The legal process initiated by the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar asking the Chicago State University (CSU) for a discovery of President Bola Tinubu’s academic records has got a new twist, as lawyers to President Tinubu in their fillings blamed the clerk of the 156 year-old school for the errors in his academic documents and certificate.
It will be recalled that the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois had given Tinubu up until 23 August to make a formal filling on why his records should not be released to the petitioner, Atiku Abubakar.
In complying with the directive of the court however, Tinubu’s lawyer, on Wednesday, said that an unidentified clerk of the university “unfortunately” made the errors as to the dates the school stated on his recently-issued certificate and when he actually graduated, thereby creating “the appearance of differences.”
Tinubu’s new claim was made before the judge hearing the case, Jeffery Gilbert of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago.
Atiku had subpoenaed the CSU to make a discovery of Tinubu’s academic records, believing that such discoveries will shed more light on the controversies surrounding Tinubu’s educational claims.
There have been crisis of authenticity about the documents that Tinubu submitted with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and a viral document that the CSU in the 1970s admitted a female student bearing Bola Tinubu who was born on March 29, 1954.
While President Tinubu claims that he was born on March 29, 1952, he had also, at different times, listed 1954 as his birth year in the past.
The flame of controversy around President Tinubu’s academic records began to burn when, in 1999 during his run for the Lagos State governorship position, he claimed to have attended schools in Nigeria, which included Government College Ibadan, but which he later rescinded.
He also recently expunged his primary and secondary education from his records after it was discovered that other schools he listed under oath in his 1999 INEC form CF001 did not exist anywhere in Nigeria.
However, the documents being sought by Atiku seek to highlight which early education credentials Tinubu submitted to CSU before he was admitted into the university.
Atiku’s contention is that Tinubu had presented contradictory claims in Nigeria and the CSU in responding to a previous subpoena.
Tinubu’s response, which was signed by his lawyers, Oluwole Afolabi and Christopher Carmichael, quotes in part, “unfortunately, in responding to the illegal and invalid subpoena, CSU made several errors.
“CSU issued a new diploma for Bola A. Tinubu, but incorrectly wrote the date of graduation as June 27, 1979.
“The correct date was June 22, 1979, but that scrivener’s error – along with a change in the CSU logo, the font on the diploma, and leadership at CSU who signed the diploma created the appearance of differences between an earlier issued diploma and the one issued in response to the 2022 subpoena.”