• Thursday, November 30, 2023
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Explainer: What to know about Tinubu’s released academic records

Explainer: What to know about Tinubu’s released academic records

The Chicago State University (CSU) released President Bola Tinubu’s academic records following a court order from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. These documents have been a subject of controversy and intrigue, with allegations of discrepancies and forgery hanging in the balance.

At the heart of this unfolding saga is former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who has been fervently seeking access to these records to strengthen his challenge to President Tinubu’s electoral victory.

The court’s order and initial objections

It all began when Atiku Abubakar approached the U.S. district court, seeking to compel Chicago State University to release President Tinubu’s academic records. Atiku argued that these documents could play a pivotal role in his legal battle against the president’s electoral victory.

On September 19, Judge Jeffrey Gilbert, a U.S. magistrate judge, granted Atiku’s request, ordering CSU to release Tinubu’s academic records within 24 hours.

However, President Tinubu promptly filed an appeal against this order, contesting the release of his academic records. In response, Atiku petitioned the U.S. district court to overrule Tinubu’s objections, sparking a legal showdown.

CSU’s compliance with the court’s order

In compliance with the court order, Chicago State University eventually released a cache of documents connected to President Tinubu’s education at the institution. These documents, presented to Atiku’s legal team, include copies of certificates with redacted names issued to other individuals around the same time that President Tinubu completed his studies at CSU in 1979.

The university also furnished Atiku’s team with President Tinubu’s admission records, along with a letter dated June 27, 2022, confirming his enrollment at the university from August 1977 to June 1979, where he majored in accounting. According to the letter, Mr. Tinubu was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Honors on June 22, 1979.

Questions raised by the documents

The documents released by CSU have sparked curiosity and raised new questions. Notably, in some of the transcripts circulating online, President Tinubu is identified as “female,” whereas other documents clearly address him as “Mr.” A copy of his Southwest College record, which played a crucial role in his admission to CSU, also identifies him as “female.”

While the released diplomas from 1997 bear the same font and logo as those submitted by Tinubu to INEC for the 2023 presidential election, there is a discrepancy in the date.

CSU has acknowledged this discrepancy, attributing it to a clerical error in an affidavit. The release of these documents has not only shed light on President Tinubu’s academic history but also brought new aspects of the controversy to the forefront.

Read also: How Tinubu’s government fared in first four months

Nigerians’ reactions on social media

The impact on Nigerian politics

This saga is a significant development in Nigerian politics. Atiku Abubakar’s relentless pursuit of President Tinubu’s academic records underscores the importance of transparency and accountability in the electoral process.

Despite losing his initial case in Nigeria’s Presidential Election Petition Court, Atiku has continued his legal battle in the United States, hoping to utilize these documents in his appeal at Nigeria’s Supreme Court.

While the release of President Tinubu’s academic records confirms that he did graduate from CSU in 1979, it also raises additional questions about the consistency and accuracy of the documents.

In the words of Judge Nancy Maldonado, who presided over the case, “The Court simply finds, on the narrow question before it, that Mr. Abubakar is entitled to the production of documents and testimony that he seeks from CSU.” The future of this controversy and its consequences for Nigerian politics will continue to unfold.