President Bola Tinubu has beseeched a U.S. federal judge to disregard allegations that his admission documents at Chicago State University from the 1970s indicated a female identity. Tinubu has accused his Nigerian political rival, Atiku Abubakar, of attempting to undermine him with these claims.
In a filing submitted on September 11th before Judge Jeffrey Gilbert of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Tinubu’s legal team argued that it was improper to introduce new allegations at this stage of the case. Christopher Carmichael, one of Tinubu’s attorneys, represented the Nigerian president in the courtroom.
This development appears to be an eleventh-hour effort to downplay an upcoming hearing, as Judge Gilbert had recommended that all involved parties appear before the court on September 12th, suggesting a forthcoming ruling.
Atiku Abubakar had sought subpoenas to obtain records and depositions from Chicago State University concerning Tinubu’s admission and graduation. However, the university’s records have presented a perplexing scenario, with conflicting documents and dates.
For example, two distinct certificates issued by the university in Tinubu’s name have come to light. One certificate, issued directly to Tinubu, indicates he graduated on June 22, 1979, after being admitted in 1977. Another certificate, issued to Nigerian lawyer Mike Enahoro-Ebah following a subpoena, bears a graduation date of June 27, 1979.
Moreover, additional admission records provided by the university in response to a 2022 subpoena show that a Bola Tinubu, admitted in 1977, presented a Southwest College result indicating a female identity.
Further complicating matters is the revelation that Elnora Daniel, who purportedly signed the 2022 certificate for Tinubu, joined Chicago State University in 1998, nearly two decades after Tinubu’s supposed graduation. She left the university in 2008, 14 years prior to her alleged signature on the certificate.
These discrepancies have led Atiku Abubakar to seek full disclosure under subpoena from Chicago State University. He intends to use these records in his legal challenge against Tinubu’s election earlier this year, asserting that the president’s alleged falsified records should disqualify him from office.
In response to the controversy surrounding the Southwest College record and Tinubu’s identity, Tinubu’s legal team dismissed it as a conspiracy theory and emphasized that it was not the fault of the Nigerian leader. However, they failed to mention that the suggestion originated from Chicago State University’s records for Tinubu.
In a swift response, Atiku Abubakar’s attorneys, led by Angela Liu, urged the judge to disregard Tinubu’s arguments and proceed with the scheduled hearing on September 12, 2023. The legal battle between these Nigerian political figures continues to unfold in the U.S. courtroom, with the authenticity of Tinubu’s academic records at the center of the dispute.