The Chicago State University (CSU) has thrown a fresh twist into the political saga surrounding President Bola Tinubu’s academic credentials, as the institution has stated that it does not possess the certificate that Tinubu presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) prior to the 2023 general election.
In a dramatic turn of events, Caleb Westberg, the university registrar and deponent/witness, made this revelation during an oral deposition regarding the release of Tinubu’s academic records to his political opponent, Atiku Abubakar, on Monday.
Atiku, the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had sought these documents to substantiate his previous allegation of forgery of Tinubu’s CSU certificate.
This allegation had been dismissed by Nigeria’s presidential election court but continued to be pursued by Atiku in the US courts.
Through his legal team, Atiku had requested several key items, including an example of a CSU diploma issued in 1979, Tinubu’s alleged diploma from 1979, an example of a CSU diploma with matching characteristics to Tinubu’s, and CSU documents certified and produced by Jamar Orr, an associate general counsel at CSU at the time.
The focal point of this controversy revolves around the discrepancies in the certificate Tinubu submitted to INEC, which Atiku claimed should have rendered him ineligible to contest the election.
However, Westberg, the CSU registrar, stated during the deposition that he could not comment on Tinubu’s certificate because he had not seen it.
He clarified that the university typically did not retain diplomas and did not have the diploma submitted to INEC in its possession, as Tinubu had already collected it.
Nevertheless, Westberg confirmed that Tinubu had indeed graduated from CSU and went on to say, “The Bola Tinubu who attended Southwest College took Accounting courses.
” The Bola Tinubu who attended CSU also took Accounting courses. I see the address indicated for Bola Tinubu. It’s not far from CSU.
“The entries ‘1952’ and ‘1954’ could have been made in error. The person who attended Southwest College is the person who attended CSU. The courses taken by Bola Tinubu at Southwest and CSU are consistent.”
In response to these claims, Farooq Kperogi, a US-based professor, conducted an analysis of the documents and suggested that while some appeared authentic, part of them might have been forged.
He speculated that Tinubu had likely lost his original certificate and, instead of applying for a replacement, resorted to forging it.
However, the presidency swiftly dismissed claims of forgery. President Tinubu’s media aide, Temitope Ajayi, argued that CSU had affirmed under oath that Tinubu attended and graduated from the institution, and that the school did not handle replacements for lost certificates.
He emphasized, “A man cannot forge the academic records he possesses. You can only forge what you don’t have.”
This revelation from Chicago State University has reignited debates surrounding President Tinubu’s academic credentials, adding a new layer of complexity to the already contentious issue.
The political repercussions of this revelation remain to be seen as the controversy continues to unfold.
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