Politics is a dirty game. By now, in the wildest imagination of Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the 2023 election, and his men, President Bola Tinubu would have been cast as a transgender, hermaphrodite, cross-dresser, artful document forger and a big cheat or liar or crook or a combination of all these. This is because, with nose-thumping determination, Atiku wanted the US court to compel Chicago State University (CSU) to release Tinubu’s certificate and academic records. When the court granted Atiku’s prayers, he and his men howled with enthusiasm.
However, the Chicago State University (CSU) has punctured the balloon by releasing the academic records of Tinubu, disappointing Atiku in critical areas.
On Saturday, the US district court for the northern district of Illinois ordered the university to release the academic records of Nigeria’s President.
One of the critical areas is that Atiku wanted the court to compel CSU to release a copy of the diplomas it issued in 1997, the university , as The Cable reported, said the certificates match the format of the Tinubu replacement dated June 27, 1997.
“The documents responsive to this request which CSU, after diligent search, has been able to locate are produced herewith and Bates labelled CSU 0008 through CSU 0010. The students’ names on these diplomas have been redacted for privacy reasons. CSU is also producing, Bates labelled as CSU 0011 and 0012, diplomas produced for other CSU students (with their names redacted for privacy) which match the format of the Tinubu replacement dated June 27, 1997,” the university wrote. What is more, the university released samples of diplomas (certificates) awarded in 1979 to other students were released by the university as demanded by Atiku.
Why Atiku dashed to court to ask CSU to release the diploma in question was that Tinubu had previously claimed to “have lost his original certificates but presented a replacement for his CSU diploma to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2023 presidential election.”
Another critical area was the rumour making the rounds on social media which fuelled Atiku’s resolve was that Tinubu was offered admission as a woman! He just transmogrified into man eventually, so they thought, as some of the transcripts circulating on the internet read “F”, suggesting “female”. However, apart from the new documents (and admission letter) released by CSU, where Tinubu was addressed as a “Mr”, he also ticked “male” in the undergraduate admissions application form.
On the difference in date in the dates on the samples of diplomas issued in 1997 released by CSU, though they bear the same font and logo as what Tinubu submitted to INEC, CSU, in its affidavit, took responsibility for the discrepancy, blaming it on “clerical error.”
The crisis started on September 19, when Jeffrey Gilbert, a US magistrate judge, granted Atiku’s request and ordered CSU to release Tinubu’s academic records within 24 hours. Tinubu dashed to court by filing an appeal against the order. However, Nancy Maldonado, a federal judge, overruled Tinubu’s objections and “ordered CSU to release the president’s academic records.”
Another critical area was Atiku’s request to produce the exact diploma CSU issued to Tinubu in 1979, the university said it could not find a copy of the original certificate it issued to Tinubu that year.
It responded: “CSU does not in the ordinary course keep copies of student diplomas, and after diligent search cannot locate a copy of the original diploma prepared for Mr Tinubu in 1979, hence has no documents responsive to this request.”
The university released redacted diplomas of other students similar to that of Tinubu’s to show that the president graduated from its institution in the aforementioned year.