A new development, yesterday, crept into the alleged certificate scandal Presidential Bola Tinubu, as the Chicago State University (CSU), has refused to authenticate the certificate Tinubu submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the of February 25 presidential elections.
Also, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, on Tuesday, adjourned ruling on a subpoena application for Tinubu’s records from the universe.
Counsel for CSU, Michael Hayes, while speaking before Judge Jeffrey Gilbert in Chicago, stated that the school was not in a position to authenticate Tinubu’s certificate as either fake or genuine.
The recent statement, however, contradicted the school’s previous assertions that it issued a certificate to the Nigerian politician after he graduated in 1979.
Hayes, at the hearing in Chicago, which began at about 1:30 p.m. (local) and lasted several hours in the lawsuit brought by Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said, “Is the diploma authentic or is it a forgery? My client can’t answer yes to either of those questions.”
The lawyer insisted that the school’s administrators, if asked under oath won’t be able to certify Tinubu’s certificate because they “just don’t know” where he obtained it or how.
Hayes was responding to the judge’s inquiry into the school’s ability to confirm under oath that Tinubu was issued the certificate he tendered to Nigeria’s electoral office as part of his final eligibility paperwork in June 2022.
Hayes insisted that CSU records showed Tinubu attended the school, but admitted there were several contradictions that the school’s administrators won’t be able to clarify under oath.
Those discrepancies included the June 22, 1977, date that Tinubu’s certificate carried, as well as the school’s president at the time the certificate was obtained and typographical, font and header errors on the document.
Tinubu on June 17, 2022, submitted a certificate to INEC that was purportedly issued in 1979 and signed by Elnora Daniel.
But Ms Daniel only arrived at CSU in 1998 from Hampton University, 19 years after Mr Tinubu was said to have graduated.
She then left the school in 2008 following a financial mismanagement scandal or 14 years before June 2022 when CSU issued yet a fresh certificate in Tinubu’s name under subpoena from a Nigerian lawyer, who had inquired about Mr Tinubu’s education there.
The contradictions, among others, caused Mr Abubakar to file the suit to compel CSU to produce records relating to Tinubu and make its top officials available for deposition to certify the produced records, according to the Nigerian opposition leader’s lawyers.
Alexandre de Gramont, who appeared in court for Abubakar, said the documents and depositions were being sought for use in the Nigerian Supreme Court, where the final battle over Tinubu’s election has headed.
Atiku has until September 20 to appeal the September 6 decision of the Court of Appeal, which is the first instance court in the presidential election tribunal process in Nigeria.