July 20, 2024

Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has filed an application with the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago, urging the court to dismiss President Bola Tinubu’s objections to an order directing Chicago State University (CSU) to release his academic records by no later than October 2, 2023.

In his application submitted on September 27, Atiku contested Tinubu’s objections, refuting the characterization of his suit as a ‘fishing expedition’ unrelated to the presidential election petition case at the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Atiku clarified that the request for the release of academic records was not a fishing exercise but rather an effort to verify the authenticity of 12 pages of documents, including two different diplomas allegedly issued by CSU. These documents were the basis of CSU’s claim that Tinubu graduated in 1979, which contradicts discrepancies found in his affidavit submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Atiku also indicated that any evidence obtained from this case would be sent to Nigeria by October 4, and subsequently filed with the Supreme Court by October 5. This timeline aligns with his counsel’s intention to submit any new evidence to the Supreme Court.

Atiku initially filed the suit in the US court on August 2, 2023, seeking CSU’s release of all of Tinubu’s academic records due to irregularities in the certificate he submitted to INEC. The former vice president believed that these documents would help clarify inconsistencies in Tinubu’s background.

Among the issues raised was the emergence of a “second Chicago State University diploma dated June 27, 1979,” bearing the name “Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” which presented differences in font, punctuation, seal, and signatures compared to the June 22, 1979 diploma. Atiku aimed to authenticate these documents and determine whether the “Chicago State University diploma in the name of Bola Ahmed Tinubu dated June 22, 1979” submitted to INEC before the February 2023 presidential election was genuine or forged.

Recently, President Tinubu asked the court to allow CSU to release only his certificate to Atiku while blocking the university from disclosing any additional information about the certificate holder, including their gender, school history, and other related records. This request followed a US magistrate judge’s order instructing the university to provide Atiku with “all relevant and non-privileged documents” within a two-day period.

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