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Atiku To Hold World Press Conference Regarding His Discovery Efforts At CSU

Atiku To Hold World Press Conference Regarding His Discovery Efforts At CSU

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The PDP presidential candidate said he’s not contending the fact that Tinubu attended CSU but that he forged the certificate he currently parades.
The People’s Democratic Party’s Presidential Candidate and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar has said he will on Thursday, hold a world press conference on the result of his discovery effort at CSU.

This is coming after the registrar of Chicago State University (CSU), Mr. Caleb Westberg, on Tuesday, told a court ordered deposition in Illinois that even though President Bola Ahmed Tinubu graduated from the university, it did not issue the CSU diploma certificate Tinubu submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2023 presidential run.

Westberg made the disclosure while responding to questions from Angela Liu, lawyer to former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar, in a United States legal proceeding.

Atiku had sought to nullify the declaration of Tinubu as president by INEC.

He currently has a pending appeal at the Supreme Court, following the dismissal of his petition against the February 25 election that produced Tinubu as president.

A five-member panel of the presidential election tribunal had, in a unanimous judgement on September 6, held that Atiku could not prove his allegations of irregularities, noncompliance, as well as corrupt practices during the presidential election.

Besides, the panel declined to entertain Atiku’s prayers for the disqualification of Tinubu from the poll over alleged forgery and perjury, on the grounds that the allegations were not part of the former vice president’s petition filed on March 21, 2023.

Atiku believed that by Nigeria’s laws, a candidate could be barred from participating in an election over acts of forgery and lying on oath.

Among the documents Tinubu submitted last year to INEC was a diploma certificate, said to have been obtained from CSU in 1979. The document, like his educational history, was enmeshed in great controversy, leading to the instant litigation in the United States.

Apart from the US case, one Mike Enahoro-Ebah and some civil society groups had earlier gone to court to stop Tinubu’s participation in the last presidential election. The different cases were dismissed on the grounds that the complaints/plaintiffs lacked the necessary legal rights to institute the legal action.

Just like the earlier suits filed at the High Court, the former vice president claimed at the tribunal that the CSU certificate Tinubu submitted to INEC was forged. In arguing his case, he called a witness, Enahoro-Ebah, who not only testified of the alleged abnormalities in Tinubu’s certificate but also tendered a copy he obtained from the same CSU, which gave conflicting dates, logos, signatories, and fonts from the one Tinubu submitted to INEC.

Following the dismissal of his case by the tribunal, Atiku approached the US court for an order compelling CSU to release Tinubu’s academic records to him so that he could prove before the apex court in Nigeria that Tinubu committed a criminal act of forgery and perjury, which should warrant the nullification of his presidency.

The US court found merit in Atiku’s application. Judge Jeffrey Gilbert of a Magistrate Court, on September 19, ordered CSU to release Tinubu’s records to Atiku within two days, which must be attested to be genuine by a corporate designee of the school.

The order was upheld by Maldonado last Saturday, when she insisted that the documents should be released on Monday and the testimony of the witness obtained on Tuesday.

However, at the deposition under Rule 30 (b) (6), Westberg, informed the court that documents at his disposal showed Tinubu attended and graduated from the CSU in 1979.

During cross examination, the deponent could not confirm the diploma Tinubu submitted to INEC. He claimed he was seeing the certificate for the very first time.

“Exhibit 6, this purports to be a June 22, 1979 diploma issued to Tinubu and you can see it is stamped by INEC on the diploma as well. Have you seen this document before?” witness was asked.

“In the proceedings of this case, yes,” Westberg responded.

The questions and answers in the court went thus:

Question: “You have never seen the document prior to the proceedings in this case?”

Answer: “You are correct.”

The witness equally agreed that there were remarkable differences in the diploma Tinubu submitted to INEC and the ones issued by the institution both in 1979, when Tinubu graduated, and the one issued last year to Enahoro-Ebah.

These differences ranged from the signatories to the logo, and seal.

In his deposition, the witness observed that certificates issued in 1979 had five signatories and seal with the class of hands, but the one Tinubu submitted to INEC had just three signatories and seal with triangle.

Specifically, Westberg pointed out that the signature on the replacement certificate of Tinubu matched certificates issued in the 1990s and not those of 1979, adding that some of the persons, who signed the INEC diploma, were not in the institution by 1979.

The question and answer session in the US court proceeded as follows:

Question: “The diploma says it was granted on June 22, 1979?”

Answer: “Yes.”

Question: “And CSU did not have a board of trustees in 1979, did it?”

Answer: “True.”

Question: “So let’s look at the signature on the INEC diploma, on the right, it looks like one of the signatories was Elnora Daniel, correct?”

Answer: “Yes.”

Question: “And Elnora Daniel was not the chair or president of CSU in 1979, correct?”

Answer: “Yes.”

Question: “She was president 1998 to 2008, correct?”

Answer: “As far as I am aware.”

Similarly, while the witness identified another signature on the diploma Tinubu submitted to INEC as that of Herbert Conley, he admitted that Conley was not the dean of the Faculty of Business Administration in 1979.

Faulting further the seal on the diploma with INEC, the witness stated that the word “responsibility” and year 1867 were missing.

The question and answer continued, thus:

Question: “And you are unaware of any diploma that includes these three signatories being issued by CSU?”

Answer: “Correct.”

Question: “And you have never seen a diploma that cut off the triangle seal in this manner?”

Answer: “Correct.”

Question: “You have never seen a diploma that cut off the signature of Herbert Conley, position like this?”

Answer: “Correct.”

Question: “And CSU does not have a 1979 diploma that contains the font CL signatories and wording, apart from the INEC diploma?”

Answer: “Correct.”

Question: “So CSU does not know of any diploma dated 1979 like the INEC diploma that has ever been issued?”

Answer: “Correct.”

Question: “And CSU has no record of issuing this INEC diploma to President Tinubu in 1979?”

Answer: “Correct.”

Question: “And CSU did not issue a diploma dated June 27, 1979 to Tinubu in 1979.”

Answer: “Correct.”

Meanwhile, while the witness in one breath claimed, “We did not find any diploma issued by 1979 to Tinubu,” in another, he admitted that the school had in its file the diploma dated June 27, 1979, which was the copy released last year to Enahoro-Ebah under the order of a US court.

On why they had the June 27, 1979 copy in their file, the witness stated that he presumed that the diploma was not picked up by Tinubu.

Yet, the certificate Tinubu submitted to INEC was dated June 22, 1979.

Atiku had called for all certificates issued by the school in 1979, when Tinubu claimed to have graduated from the university, as well as the “true and correct copy” issued to Tinubu in 1979.

The PDP presidential candidate stated that he was not contending the fact that Tinubu attended CSU but that he forged the certificate he currently parades.

Tinubu had failed to produce his academic records from primary through secondary schools, on claims that he lost them during his days in exile, when the then military government of the late General Sani Abacha was allegedly after some of them.

To a large extent, the release of Tinubu’s CSU records and the subsequent deposition were expected to finally lay to rest all controversies surrounding the president’s educational qualifications.

However, what the Supreme Court would make out of this revelation is another ball game entirely.

CSU had on Monday released the academic records of Tinubu in its custody. The released records, which contained 32 documents, revealed, among others, that Tinubu graduated from Government College, Lagos, in 1970.

Tinubu’s primary and secondary education, like his university, remained a factor of major controversy.

Beside the variations in the names and number of persons, who signed various certificates issued in 1979, there was also a huge variation in the logo of the institution.

Other documents released by the university included a Southwest College Transcript, which Tinubu was said to have used in gaining admission into CSU in September 1977.

The document confirmed Atiku’s allegation that the Tinubu admitted into CSU in 1977 was a female, and a social security number 231-06-0595.

Besides the Southwest College, the document further revealed that Tinubu claimed he graduated from Government College, Lagos, in 1970. But the college was not founded until 1974.

Similarly, a University of Cambridge, General Certificate of Education, Tinubu attached as part of his credentials showed Physics, Chemistry and Biology as three subjects he sat for in the November/December exam in 1970.

The released documents also showed that Tinubu’s record, following his consent, was released to one Mr Wole Afolabi on June 28, 2023; the document was signed by Jamar Orr, who also last year asserted that Tinubu graduated from the CSU in 1979.

Atiku had in his revised subpoena specifically requested four document, seeking true and correct copies of: (1) an example of a CSU diploma for a Bachelor of Science degree issued in 1979; (2) President Tinubu’s diploma issued in 1979; (3) any examples of a CSU diploma that “contains the same font, seal, signatures, and wording (other than the name of the recipient and the specific degree awarded)” as the copy of the diploma that was purportedly issued to Tinubu on or about June 22, 1979; and (4) certain other CSU documents that were apparently certified and produced by Jamar Orr (an associate general counsel at CSU) in other Nigerian proceedings, as well as communications relating to these documents (the “Orr Documents”).

In addition, Atiku sought a deposition by CSU pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 30(b)(6), seeking to explore five topics through deposition: (1) the authenticity of the documents produced by CSU in response to the application and how and where CSU located the documents; (2) CSU’s position on the authenticity of other CSU documents related to Tinubu purportedly produced by CSU in another Nigerian proceeding (“Enahoro-Ebah v. Tinubu”); (3) the contents of an affidavit from CSU’s registrar Caleb Westberg; (4) CSU’s position on the authenticity of a letter from Westberg (the “Westberg Letter”) on CSU letterhead regarding Tinubu, including who requested the letter, who prepared the letter, and to whom it was sent; and (5) CSU’s position on the authenticity of the Orr Documents and other facts regarding why the documents were certified, if Mr. Orr was authorized to do so, who requested the documents, and to whom they were sent.

Atiku and PDP, who came second in the last presidential election with over six million votes, were seeking the nullification of Tinubu’s presidency on the grounds of substantial non-compliance with the electoral laws, massive irregularities, and corrupt practices, among others.

He claimed that Tinubu ought not to have contested the February 25 presidential election over alleged criminal offences bordering on forgery, perjury and possession of double citizenship.

But a five-member panel of the presidential election tribunal, in their unanimous judgement delivered on September 6, dismissed Atiku and PDP’s petition for lacking in merit.

While the tribunal held that the petitioners did not prove allegations made against the conduct of the presidential poll, it refused to consider and determine the allegations of certificate forgery and perjury against Tinubu on the grounds that they failed to list the allegations in their main petition.

Bent on proving the allegations, Atiku approached the US court for additional evidence, which he hoped to tender before the Supreme Court, where he had already filed an appeal against what called a “perverse” judgement of the presidential tribunal.

He predicated his application on Order 2 of the Supreme Court Rule, which stipulates, “A party who wishes the court to receive the evidence of witnesses (whether they were or were not called at the trial) or to order the production of any document, exhibit or other thing connected with the proceedings in accordance with the provisions of Section 33 of the Act, shall apply for leave on notice of motion prior to the date set down for the hearing of the appeal.

“The application shall be supported by affidavit of the fact on which the party relies for making it and of the nature of the evidence or the document concerned.

“It shall not be necessary for the other party to answer the additional evidence intended to be called but if leave is granted the other party shall be entitled to a reasonable opportunity to give his own evidence in reply if he so wishes.”

Presidency: Tinubu’s Certificate Authentic, Not Forged

The presidency, on Wednesday, stated that the certificate submitted to INEC by President Bola Tinubu was authentic and not forged, as being insinuated in some quarters.

Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Temitope Ajayi, in a reaction, said Chicago State University (CSU) confirmed that the president did not submit a fake result to INEC.

Ajayi noted that CSU affirmed under oath that Tinubu attended and graduated from the institution and that the school did not handle replacements for lost certificates. He said there was no iota of truth in the forgery claim, adding that no person can forge a certificate he already has.

In his posting on X, Ajayi wrote, “We should be clear. In the deposition made by the Chicago State University, there was nowhere the university said the certificate presented to INEC by President Tinubu is fake.

“The university insisted under oath that President Tinubu graduated with honours and even at that, replacements for lost certificates are done by vendors, not the university.

“The claim that President Tinubu submitted fake certificate to INEC does not make sense. A man cannot forge the academic records he possesses. You can only forge what you don’t have.”

Lucky kenedy

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