After back and forth, the Chicago State University (CSU) released the academic records of President Bola Tinubu to his political opponent, Atiku Abubakar, on Monday.
Atiku, the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 25 election, had requested the documents to back his allegation of forgery of CSU certificate against Tinubu.
The allegation of forgery was one of those dismissed by the presidential election court in the suit Atiku filed to challenge the election of Tinubu. Despite the court’s ruling, Atiku continued his case at the US court, hoping to get official documents to back his claim and possibly include them in his appeal at the Supreme Court.
Through his lawyers, Atiku sought these key things – an example of a CSU diploma issued in 1979; Tinubu’s diploma issued in 1979; example of a CSU diploma that “contains the same font, seal, signatures and wording” as Tinubu’s diploma issued in June 1979 and CSU documents certified and produced by Jamar Orr, an associate general counsel at CSU at the time.
Tinubu had done all within his power not to have the record released, saying they would cause him severe harm because they were private to him but a United States District Court in Northern Illinois ordered CSU to release the academic records.
No sooner had CSU released the records than the social media literarily caught fire as supporters of the two top politicians took time to share materials that they considered favourable to them.
However, a deeper analysis of the documents pointed out some issues.
AUTHENTICITY OF GRADUATION
The documents contained Tinubu’s admission records, and a letter dated 27 June 2022 confirming that he attended the university from August 1977 to June 1979 majoring in accounting. The letter said Tinubu was awarded Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Honours on 22 June 1979.
A careful look at the documents showed that the certificate which Tinubu submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is different from the certificates CSU issued in 1979. Tinubu, who had previously claimed to have lost his original certificates, presented a replacement of his CSU diploma to INEC.
A copy of his Southwest College transcript with which he gained admission into CSU identified him as female, but CSU has attributed this to a clerical error. However, there were errors on the date and social security number. Also, the space for birthday was left blank in the Southwest College transcript Tinubu submitted to CSU.
GAPS IN COLLEGE CERTIFICATE
Tinubu who applied to Southwest College for an associate degree in 1975 claimed to have attended Government College, Lagos, and presented a 1970 GCE A-level result. Whereas, Government College, Lagos, was established in 1974 by the administration of Brig. General Mobolaji Johnson.
In his documents to INEC, Tinubu said he was born on March 29, 1952. This is his known date of birth, at least from the yearly colloquium he organised consistently until he got elected into the highest office in the land. However, in the record released by CSU, Tinubu was said to have been born on March 29, 1954, a clear gap of two years.
Farooq Kperogi, a US-based Professor, who analysed the documents said while some were authentic, he believed part of it was forged.
In a piece entitled, ‘6 Major Findings about Tinubu from the CSU Documents’, Kperogi wrote, “Tinubu obviously identified as a man throughout the two years he studied at the school. A Nigerian CSU graduate and classmate of Tinubu’s swore under oath that Tinubu ran for and won election as president of CSU’s accounting students’ association. His yearbook photo from 1979 also clearly showed a younger version of Tinubu.
“The Bola A. Tinubu who applied to Southwest College for an associate degree in 1975 claimed to have attended Government College, Lagos, and presented a 1970 GCE A-level result with grades E in Chemistry and Biology and an F in Physics. The problem is that Government College, Lagos, was established in 1974. So, there’s a chronological conundrum there, which signposts forgery.
“It’s not clear at the moment if the GCE A-level result is fake or authentic—or if it belongs to the man we know today as President Bola A. Tinubu. My hunch is that it doesn’t belong to him. But this will become clear in the coming days.”
Tweeting via @AreaFada1, musician Charly Boy, wrote: “My People, Chicago University don release all Tinubu’s manuscripts to Atiku. Una don dey see as everywhere dey smell for dis we country now. Dem say, when the Head of a fish is rotten the rest of the body will be in a state of rottenness.”
Another Twitter user, Oluwole Jagaban, said, “Master strategist wey no fit handle ordinary certificate forgery, haba. Wetin the CEO of APC cannot do doesn’t exist.😳 Ladies and gents, exposing the first transgender from Nigeria.
Yeye dey smell. My people make una make sure dis man vomit our mandate, from henceforth na vawulence pro max i dey.”
But Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, who was Tinubu’s campaign spokesman, asked Atiku to apologise to Nigerians.
“From the responses by Chicago State University, ATIKU’s journey to Chicago and back has been a journey to nowhere, a fruitless exercise and an odyssey in self-humiliation. President Tinubu and Nigerians deserve an unreserved apology from him.”
Reno Omokri, former Presidential aide who campaigned for Atiku but has been issuing pro-Tinubu comment lately, wrote: “Chicago State University released documents validating Bola Tinubu’s academic records. They did that under the penalty of perjury. It is now established beyond the shadow of a doubt that I was right. I am never for Bola Tinubu, but I will not lie and say that he did not attend a university I know he attended.”