Atiku, presidency bicker over Tinubu’s submitted document as CSU admits certificates sold online
The Presidency in Nigeria has denied claims that the certificate President Bola Tinubu presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in order to run for presidency in 2023 was forged.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Temitope Ajayi, in a statement on Wednesday said Chicago State University (CSU) did not admit that the certificate Tinubu presented to INEC was fake anywhere in its deposition.
He argued further that the university affirmed under oath that Tinubu attended and graduated from the institution and that the school does not handle replacements of lost certificates.
Ajayi’s rebuttal comes amid reports that the Chicago State University had said in the testimony of the institution that the Nigerian President presented a forged degree certificate to the INEC when he filed his paperwork to contest for the presidency in June 2022.
Ajayi in his submission said there is no truth in such claims as no man can forge a certificate he already possesses and it is only what you don’t have that you forge.
Taking to his account on the X micro-blogging platform, the presidential media aide 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 a 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.”
However, Mr. Paul Ibe, special adviser to former vice president and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’s) presidential candidate in 2023, Atiku Abubakar, dismissed Tuggars’s position as “irresponsible and shameful” and countered Ajayi, saying from the depositions on CSU’s records on Tuesday, Tinubu forged the documents.
Meanwhile, Labour Party (LP) said it regretted that the controversies trailing Tinubu’s academic records were putting Nigeria’s image among the comity of nations on trial, adding that it was awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision on the issue to take a final position.
CSU says academic documents sold online
Meanwhile, Chicago State University (CSU), Registrar Caleb Westberg, in his deposition on Tuesday, said it is not unusual for companies to generate bogus academic certificates for willing buyers on the internet.
Mr Westberg stated under oath in response to questions from Atiku Abubakar’s attorneys that the institution had no knowledge of the document Mr Tinubu had submitted to INEC in June 2022 as part of the mandatory requirements for presidential candidates.
He, however, suggested that the Nigerian leader might have obtained the certificate from online businesses that specialise in forgery.
The CSU registrar answered “yes” when asked whether he had “ever seen a diploma purporting to be from CSU but was actually a forgery.” He added that he was aware of entities that are experts in generating fake credentials.
When pressed further to name such entities, Mr Westberg responded that those looking to use the services of such forgery vendors can “easily” locate them on the internet with a simple Google search.
“I cannot provide a name of an entity that does such, however, you can Google this easily,”Mr Westberg stated under oath Tuesday evening. “There are many companies that do this for folks.”
Nigeria’s president, Tinubu, has been enmeshed in a forgery storm after glaring inconsistencies were discovered between the CSU certificate he submitted to INEC in June 2022 and the one CSU gave Nigerian lawyer Mike Enahoro-Ebah in response to a previous subpoena in August 2022.
The discrepancies prompted Mr Abubakar, who lost his presidency bid to Mr Tinubu, to approach the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Illinois for a subpoena directing discovery of the Nigerian leader’s records and shed light on the matter.
Mr Tinubu opposed the request to the extent of making an emergency appeal that his life could suffer severe and irreparable damage if his opponent lays hands on his educational records.
But Judge Nancy Maldonado overruled his objections and asked CSU to turn over all the sought records on Monday and also avail their officials for deposition on Tuesday.
Atiku intends to tender the evidence of forgery at Nigeria’s Supreme Court where the final battle line has been drawn in his determined quest to overturn Tinubu’s victory, particularly after a lower court said his petitions were too weak to unseat the president.
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