Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election, had subpoenaed CSU to release Tinubu’s academic records for use in the Nigerian supreme court.
The Chicago State University (CSU) has in deposition it made on Tuesday said it doesn't have records of diploma certificate President Bola Tinubu submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
This comes after Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election subpoenaed CSU to release Tinubu’s academic records for use in the Nigerian supreme court.
Abubakar is challenging the victory of Tinubu in the February 25 election and the affirmation of Tinubu by the petition tribunal as winner of the poll.
He had argued that there are discrepancies in the certificate Tinubu submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which should have rendered him ineligible to contest the election.
According to TheCable, speaking on the certificate (also called diploma) presented to the INEC by Tinubu, Caleb Westberg, the university registrar and deponent/witness, said:
“The university only has diplomas that students didn’t pick up in its possession. The university does not typically keep diplomas. I do not have the diploma that was submitted to INEC in our possession."
He also said when there is a replacement diploma, “it is done by outside vendors”.
Westberg said that in the US, “diplomas are considered merely ceremonial documents. In some other countries, it may be considered more. In the US, more reliance is placed on transcripts and not on diplomas”.
He said all of the certified documents came from CSU’s files.
“CSU had never certified documents for anyone before. It must have been made because it was more of a Nigerian thing,” he said.
“I’m not aware of any instance where CSU had been requested to certify a document. Mr. Wole Afolabi who was acting for President Tinubu insisted that the documents must be certified.”
Responding to another question, he said he went into Tinubu’s student’s file and produced the documents but did not know the documents would be certified.
“I don’t get involved in legal matters,” he said.
Westberg said it is not uncommon for mistakes to be made in data entries from time to time.
“Before CSU, I was at UC, Berkeley and UC, Irving. I’m sure people make mistakes in data entry from time to time,” he said.
The witness also said it is possible that vendors are responsible for the certificate Tinubu submitted to Nigeria’s electoral commission ahead of the vote.
“Some policies have changed over the years. When there is a replacement diploma, it is done by outside vendors,” he said.
On why Tinubu did not pick up his replacement diploma from the school, the witness said: “You would have to ask him. The university only has diplomas that students didn’t pick up in its possession.”
“The university does not typically keep diplomas. I have the diploma that was made available to Mr. Enahoro-Ebah in our possession because Mr. Tinubu did not pick it up,” he said.
“I do not have the diploma that was submitted to INEC in our possession because he had picked it up.”
He said: “I see that he said the same person he ran against is now the president of Nigeria. The Bola Tinubu who attended Southwest College took Accounting courses. The Bola Tinubu who attended CSU also took Accounting courses. I see the address indicated for Bola Tinubu. It’s not far from CSU.
“I looked at the whole record in making the determination that the Bola Tinubu who is the president of Nigeria today is the same person who attended CSU. The entries’1952’ and ‘1954’ could have been made in error. The person who attended Southwest College is the person who attended CSU. The courses taken by Bola Tinubu at Southwest and CSU are consistent.
“Right after the entry ‘F’, the social security number (SSN) entered indicated in the Southwest transcript is the same as the one that was indicated in CSU records. That is one of the indicia that we use to identify students. A social security number is a unique identifier.”
Pressed on why he believes the person who is the president of Nigeria today is the same person who attended CSU, the witness said Bola Tinubu is an unusual name in the US.
“He matched the records in the file against the information provided by the student or on behalf of the student,” he said.
“We believe the Bola Tinubu who attended CSU is the same person who is the president of Nigeria today.”
There have been allegations that the Tinubu who gained admission into CSU was female.
On his gender, the CSU witness said: “Tinubu applied to the university as a male and a letter of admission was issued to a male.
“There were materials in Mr. Tinubu’s records that show that he was a male. I see the application to CSU. Mr. Tinubu identified himself as a male.
“His letter of admission identified him as a male. It says: ‘Dear Mr. Tinubu’.
“I see the entry on APC’s website wherein President Bola Tinubu was said to have been born in Lagos on March 29, 1952.
“I don’t have a copy of the diploma that was submitted to INEC so I can’t comment on it.
“I am not aware of the fact that in the form that he submitted to INEC he claimed a different nationality or date of birth.
“Yes, our records show that he was born on March 29th. One has ‘1954’ while the other shows ‘1952’.
“From time to time, people do make mistakes when making such entries."