Shortly after Chicago State University (CSU) denied knowledge of a certificate the Nigerian president submitted to the nation’s electoral commission INEC to run for office, the institution asked the court to adjourn its decision on the subpoena application for Bola Tinubu’s records.
Before Judge Jeffrey Gilbert in Chicago, CSU attorney Michael Hayes categorically asserted that the institution was not in a position to authenticate Mr. Tinubu’s certificate as either fake or genuine, contradicting the institution’s earlier claims that it had given the Nigerian politician a certificate after he graduated in 1979.
At the 1:30 p.m. hearing in Chicago, Mr. Hayes stated, “My client can’t answer yes to either of these questions: Is the diploma authentic or is it a forgery.”. m. Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Tinubu’s main rival in the February 25 presidential election, filed a lawsuit in the case, which went on for several hours (local time). .
The attorney insisted that the school’s administrators would be unable to certify Mr. Tinubu’s diploma if questioned about where or how he obtained it, even under oath.
Mr. Hayes was responding to the judge’s question regarding the school’s capacity to certify under oath that Mr. Tinubu received the certificate he provided to Nigeria’s electoral office in June 2022 as part of his final eligibility paperwork.
The submission of questionable documents to INEC is against Nigerian law, and politicians, including governors, have been removed for similar offenses.
Despite acknowledging that there are some inconsistencies that the school’s administrators won’t be able to resolve under oath, Mr. Hayes insisted that CSU records showed Mr. Tinubu attended the institution. The date on Mr. Tinubu’s certificate, June 22, 1977, the president of the school when the certificate was obtained, and typographical, font, and header errors are among the inconsistencies.
On June 17, 2022, Mr. Tinubu gave an allegedly 1979-dated certificate signed by Elnora Daniel to INEC. However, Ms. Daniel did not begin her studies at CSU until 1998 after leaving Hampton University and 19 years after Mr. Tinubu was purported to have graduated. She eventually left the school in 2008 as a result of a financial mismanagement scandal, or 14 years prior to June 2022, when CSU issued yet another certificate in Mr. Tinubu’s name in response to a subpoena from a Nigerian lawyer who had enquired about Mr. Tinubu’s education there.
The jarring contradictions, among other things, prompted Mr. Abubakar to file the lawsuit to compel CSU to produce records relating to Mr. Tinubu and make its top officials available for deposition to certify the produced records, according to the lawyers for the Nigerian opposition leader. .
The documents and depositions are sought for use in the Nigerian Supreme Court, where the final dispute over Mr. Tinubu’s election is now headed, according to Alexandre de Gramont, who represented Mr. Abubakar in court.
In its decision on September 6, the Nigerian Court of Appeal upheld Mr. Tinubu’s election, according to Mr. de Gramont, because the panel lacked CSU’s position on the legitimacy of the certificate Mr. Tinubu presented. He added that the Supreme Court might be able to do so under a special rule.
Mr. de Gramont stated, “Your Honor, we don’t know whether the Nigerian Supreme Court would be open to the new evidence or not; we just want to be able to present the new evidence to them from CSU.”.
“We already have the documents; what we are looking for is CSU’s authentication or their justification for some of the discrepancies. “.
Mr. Abubakar has until September 20 to file an appeal of the Court of Appeal’s ruling from September 6, which is the first instance court in the Nigerian presidential election tribunal process. .
According to Judge Gilbert, the court has always granted similar requests under Section 1782, a law that permits the release of documents and evidence with a U.S. domicile. S. be acquired and applied in a foreign proceeding.
Attorneys for Mr. Tinubu claimed that Mr. Abubakar was on a fishing expedition and that the previous claims of CSU that Mr. Tinubu had graduated from the institution were sufficient. Mr. Carmichael served as their telephone conference representative.
The Supreme Court won’t accept new evidence, even if it is presented, according to Mr. Carmichael, who claimed that there is no need to provide additional proof or put school officials who can attest to the validity of Mr. Tinubu’s certificate under oath. .
As a result, Judge Gilbert stated that he would need more time to think about the situation before making a decision, but he asked the attorneys for all parties to review the records that had been submitted to the court and update them if necessary while he was waiting to make a decision. The parties would be informed of the date of a final decision or further hearing, he said.