Certificate saga: Presidency says Atiku desperate as ex-VP submits Tinubu’s Chicago varsity record

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…says President committed forgery, perjury by submitting fraudulent certificate to electoral body

Presidency says ex-VP chasing shadows, aide alleges Atiku desperate to embarrass Tinubu

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 general elections, Atiku Abubakar, has filed new documents against President Bola Tinubu before the Supreme Court in which he accused the President of forgery and lying under oath, and should therefore be disqualified and removed from office.

The evidence filed by the former vice president was the academic records of Tinubu, which were handed over to him by the Chicago State University on Monday following the order of an Illinois court in the United States of America instructing the institution to release the academic records as requested by Atiku.

The PDP candidate had requested the documents for use in Nigerian courts to support his argument that Tinubu forged a certificate he claimed to have obtained from the CSU in 1979 and submitted to the country’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, for the 2023 presidential election.

In an interview with one of our correspondents on Friday, one of Atiku’s lawyers, who pleaded anonymity, said Tinubu’s academic records had been submitted to the apex court.

“We have filed (the fresh evidence) but I do not have a copy (of the filing). You can approach the Supreme Court for a copy of the process,” the lawyer said.

But Atiku’s lead counsel at the tribunal, Chris Uche, said the process was being worked on.

“I am sure they are working on it. I will get back if I have any information on it,” he told disclosed to the media.

A media consultant to the former vice-president, Paul Ibe, confirmed to one of our correspondents on Friday that the lawyers would file the fresh evidence on Friday to complement the grounds of appeal filed earlier.

“I am yet to get any briefing from the legal team, but it (fresh evidence) will be filed on or before 12 midnight of today (Friday), which is the deadline.”

Asked about the specific prayers of the PDP candidate on account of the fresh evidence, Ibe added, “The extra evidence or the new evidence, which has to do with the certificate that Tinubu submitted to INEC, based on the petition, the discovery and deposition, which is what we have been waiting for, will help. And that is not the only ground; the initial filing we made to the Supreme Court was on 35 grounds.

“The Chicago evidence is just extra evidence in support of the application.”

In text messages to one of our correspondents, members of Atiku’s legal team, Chris Uche, SAN, and Mike Ozekhome, SAN, also confirmed that the new evidence would be filed on Friday.

They, however, refused to reveal the content of the fresh filing. A source in the camp of Atiku disclosed that the grounds already included allegations of forgery and perjury, saying the former vice-president was determined to see the matter to the end.

The source noted, “We have pointed out repeatedly the issues of forgery and perjury as regards the Chicago State University certificate and what the APC candidate submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

“So, on one hand, he lied to INEC under oath, and on the other hand, the university said it didn’t issue the document President Tinubu submitted to INEC, which means whatever was submitted was not the valid certificate.”

One of the counsel for Atiku, Kalu Kalu, had said at the press conference by the former vice president on Thursday, “One, that Bola Ahmed Tinubu forged the certificate he presented to INEC. Two, the qualifying certificate from South West College to Chicago State University bears a female name, indicating that that document does not belong to Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“Three, the Chicago State University admission form has a claim that Bola Ahmed Tinubu attended Government College Lagos and graduated in 1970 when indeed the school was established in 1974.

“The same document has it that the owner of that document is a black American and in the document Bola Ahmed Tinubu submitted to INEC, he denied having dual citizenship, which means it does not belong to him. Then, the same document, oral deposition, said the A in Bola A. Tinubu is Ahmed, but the NYSC certificate Bola Ahmed Tinubu submitted to INEC has Adekunle. I don’t know where Adekunle emerged from.”

An aide to the President, Tunde Rahman, in an article, said the controversy raised by the certificate saga was meant to embarrass Tinubu as the ex-Vice President was overwhelmed by his inordinate ambition to govern the country.

While describing Atiku’s quest at the Supreme Court using the academic records of the President released to him by the US as a wild goose chase, the presidential aide said, “Overwhelmed by his inordinate ambition, the failed PDP presidential candidate also shamelessly called traditional, religious, community and political leaders in the country, including Labour Party’s Peter Obi and NNPP’s Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, to rally round him in his political vendetta against President Tinubu.”

While faulting Atiku for saying he was fighting a moral battle, Rahman wrote, “And you wonder, what morality Alhaji Atiku was preaching. This is the same man who was indicted in the 2009 conviction of his accomplice, former United States Congressman William Jefferson, over bribery charges. The same man whose principal, former President Obasanjo, wrote a damaging testimonial on and whose years in Customs were signposted by corruption allegations.”

He reiterated the testimony of the Registrar of the Chicago State University, Caleb Westberg, that Tinubu attended the institution as a male, adding that all available records pointed to the fact that he entered the university as a man and graduated with honours as such.

On the insinuation that the certificate presented by Tinubu to the Independent National Electoral Commission was fake, the presidential aide said, “Nowhere in the interrogation did Westberg use the word fake or forged as Atiku’s lawyer tried to make him say so. The fact is there is no scintilla of doubt that President Tinubu attended and graduated from the CSU.

“President Tinubu honourably earned his degree and he had no reason to forge the certificate of a degree he had in his kitty. He graduated Summa Cum Laude, with distinction. He was on the Vice Chancellor’s Honours List for all his years in the school. Insinuation by anyone that he forged a certificate he worked for is sad and misleading.”

Rahman said the former vice-president was a sore loser chasing shadows with his vow to present new evidence at the Supreme Court.

He stated, “In the final analysis, it is yet unclear how Atiku plans to benefit from whatever he claims to have brought back from the US. Certificate forgery was not pleaded in his election petition now at the Supreme Court. Without being a lawyer, this is a civil case and I understand you can’t make new pleas or present new evidence in a case that has passed the court of first instance and is at present on appeal at the Supreme Court.

“What the Waziri Adamawa has demonstrated in all of his Shenanigans is that he is a sore loser. Will he gain what he failed to get at the ballot through his present indecent and unpatriotic overseas search and unfounded and hollow discovery, making a mountain where there is even no molehill, unnecessarily heating up the polity and denigrating the Justices of the Supreme Court? I don’t think so!”

APC chieftain mocks Atiku

A chieftain and former Deputy National Publicity of the All Progressives Congress, Yekini Nabena, has mocked Atiku, who he urged to start preparations in earnest for the 2027 presidential election.

Nabena insisted all the ruckus over the CSU certificate was a pre-election matter that had been forgotten.

In a statement issued on Friday, the former APC spokesman urged Atiku to concentrate on preparing for another contest in 2027 instead of attempting to drag the nation backward.

Nabena also called the attention of justices of the Supreme Court to the alleged contempt of court by the ex-vice president on the matter already before the court of law.

He said, “Let me use this medium to tell the former vice president to start preparing for another election in 2027 as usual. Heating up the polity over pre-election matters will not make him President of Nigeria. The registrar of Chicago State University, Caleb Westberg, never said President Tinubu forged the certificate he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission in Nigeria.

“Atiku Abubakar should know by now that Nigerians have moved on. The country is now enjoying good governance because this administration is responsive and responsible. See what is happening across Ministries, Departments and Agencies. Nigerians will no longer wait for months to get their passports when they apply. Over 204,000 backlog (of passports) have been cleared within three weeks.

“Think about the welfare packages for the elderly by the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry. The bold step to remove the fuel subsidy that has held the country hostage for a long time has seen government intervention in all sectors, including aviation, health, transport, economy, agriculture and security among others. This Renewed Hope Agenda is already working and Nigerians won’t allow anyone, including Atiku or Peter Obi, to drag the nation back to the desert.”

‘Scandal undermines Nigeria’s integrity’

The United Action Front of Civil Society, on Friday, described as “outrageous and embarrassing to all Nigerians the shocking exposé of the forgery and perjury committed by the present President of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

In a statement by its spokesperson, Hamisu Santuraki, the CSOs noted that the revelation by the CSU exposed “Tinubu’s false claims and forgery of the diploma certificate he submitted to INEC to enable him to stand as a presidential candidate in the 2023 elections.”

The CSOs demanded an apology from the President and all the APC, while also calling for Tinubu’s immediate resignation.

It said, “As governor of Lagos State, the personality of Bola Tinubu was shrouded in identity opaqueness. It will be recalled that in his sworn affidavit submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission in 1999, Tinubu falsely claimed to have attended a non-existent Aroloya Primary School in Lagos, Government College in Ibadan and University of Chicago for a Master’s degree in Economics. But for the immunity attached to the office of state governors under the Nigerian constitution coupled with intense divisive media manipulations, he ought to have resigned following the examples of Senate President, Evans Enwerem, and Speaker of House of Representatives, Salisu Buhari, both of whom at that time were forced to quit their offices over allegations of identity theft and false claims of graduating from the University of Toronto, Canada, respectively.

“It is rather unfortunate that the Tinubu Chicago Gate exposé has now confirmed the longstanding speculations regarding the identity of Bola Tinubu. As revealed and deposed to by Chicago State University that Tinubu falsely claimed to have attended Government College in Ibadan and also forged the CSU diploma certificate he presented to INEC for the 2023 presidential elections.

“The leadership of United Action Front of Civil Society considers it a brazen criminality for President Tinubu to have forged the certificate supposedly awarded by a foreign academic institution and, by so doing, knowingly committed perjury under the law. By submitting forged documents to INEC, which included a declaration of false age, ‘President’ Tinubu flagrantly violated Chapter 6. Part 1. Section 137 (J) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

It added, “If within the next seven days, Tinubu does not apologise to all Nigerians and refuse to resign as President of Nigeria for the shame and disgrace he brought upon the country, the United Action Front of Civil Society demands that the National Assembly should demonstrate courage in protecting the image of the country.

“To this end, the National Assembly must not only commence an impeachment process against Tinubu on this sad discovery, it must demand explanation and restitution from him in ensuring that the dignity of the office of the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria is preserved for only the morally fit and unblemished in affirmation of the spirit and letter of Chapter 6 of 1999 Constitution as amended.”

NADECORG disagrees

The National Coalition for Democracy Renewal Group has criticised the Executive Director, National Democratic Coalition USA, Lloyd Ukwu, over his call on the President to resign following an allegation of certificate forgery levelled against him, describing it as unpatriotic.

The NADECORG National Coordinator, Prof Atilade Adeeyo, said the call by Ukwu and his group was done “in bad faith and a reflection of the pain of losing the February 25 presidential poll.”

Adeeyo, in a statement made available on Friday, said, “lt is unfortunate that Ukwu and his attention-seeking group, which calls itself NADECO USA, are now attacking the personality of our President simply because they and their jester Obidient group lost an election, which President Tinubu, who is loved by the majority of Nigerians, won.

“It has been almost seven months now, but the Ukwu group is still in pain over this resounding and deserving victory given to President Tinubu. This is why they could not react with a clear head when the baseless allegation of certificate forgery against President Tinubu cropped up from the camp of bad losers like them.

“So, the only thing they could think of is to ask the President to disappoint millions of Nigerians, who reposed so much confidence in him, by relinquishing a mandate freely and happily given to him over a mere allegation by bad losers!

“We all know quite well that until proven by a competent court of law to be true, such an allegation remains baseless, unfounded and merely targeted at disparaging the personality of the President.”

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