President Bola Tinubu on Monday begged a federal judge in the United States to ignore records that suggested the person who was admitted into Chicago State University in the 1970s was a female, saying his Nigerian political rival Atiku Abubakar was trying to sandbag him in the ongoing case over academic documents.
“It is established beyond peradventure that it is improper to sandbag one’s opponent by raising new matter in reply,” Mr Tinubu said in a September 11 filing before Judge Jeffrey Gilbert of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. One of Mr Tinubu’s lawyers in the case, Christopher Carmichael, entered today’s argument on the Nigerian president’s behalf.
The response seemed a last-minute push to downplay tomorrow’s hearing by Mr Gilbert, who had recommended that all parties appear before the court on Tuesday afternoon amid strong indications a ruling was imminent in the matter.
Mr Abubakar was asking the court to grant enough subpoenas to compel records and depositions from CSU amid controversy Mr Tinubu’s admission and graduation. The school has continued to present contradictory documents that often throw up more questions than previously conceived.
For instance, at least two different certificates issued by the school in Mr Tinubu’s name are in the public domain. One was issued directly to Mr Tinubu, while the other was issued to a Nigerian lawyer who obtained a subpoena for the records last year. The one given to Mr Tinubu said he graduated on June 22, 1979, having been admitted in 1977, while the one issued to the Nigerian lawyer, Mike Enahoro-Ebah, carried June 27, 1979.
Still, additional records of admission submitted by CSU under the 2022 subpoena showed that a certain Bola Tinubu, who was admitted to CSU also in the same 1977, presented a Southwest College result belonging to a female.
Furthermore, Elnora Daniel, the CSU president who purportedly signed the 2022 certificate for Mr Tinubu, only joined the school in 1998, or 19 years after Mr Tinubu was said to have graduated. She left in 2008 following a financial mismanagement scandal, or 14 years before she purportedly signed the certificate as the current president. of the school.
These, among other jarring anomalies in the CSU records, have rendered Mr Abubakar no choice but to seek full disclosure under subpoena from the school, his lawyers said. The Nigerian politician intends to use the records in his ongoing judicial challenge to Mr Tinubu’s election earlier this year, arguing that the president’s several instances of falsified records should be enough to nullify his eligibility to continue in office.
But Mr Tinubu’s lawyers, noticing the controversy the Southwest College record generated around Mr Tinubu’s identity, told the courts that it was a conspiracy theory and not the fault of the Nigerian leader, without mentioning that the suggestion actually came from CSU records for Mr Tinubu.
“The quoted and referenced portion of the Nigerian court filing parrots conspiracy theories about President Tinubu, including that the degree from Chicago State University really belongs to a female named Bola Tinubu,” Mr Tinubu’s lawyers said. “That conspiracy theory is not an asserted basis for discovery, Peoples Gazette reports.