June 13, 2024

Resident Bola Tinubu has dispatched Oluwole Afolabi, a legal representative of the All Progressives Congress, to the United States. Afolabi, who previously engaged in legal battles leading to Adams Oshiomole’s removal as party chairman in 2020, has been tasked with defending Tinubu in the Chicago university records case. In this case, Tinubu’s opponent, Atiku Abubakar, is seeking a subpoena to obtain Tinubu’s school records from the institution.

According to documents obtained by Peoples Gazette, Afolabi filed a motion on August 14 at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to appear for Tinubu “pro hac vice.” This legal procedure allows a lawyer not licensed in a specific jurisdiction to represent a client in a particular case within that jurisdiction. On August 16, Judge Nancy Maldonado granted the motion, indicating that Afolabi will take the lead in the case. He will be supported by Charles Carmichael, a Chicago-based lawyer who has been representing Tinubu since Abubakar initiated the lawsuit over a month ago. The Gazette learned that a team of at least five lawyers has been assigned to vigorously defend Tinubu’s interests.

In 2020, Afolabi gained prominence for his role in ousting Oshiomole as the chairman of the APC while representing Victor Giadom, a controversial politician aiming to assume the party’s national chairmanship. Afolabi practiced law in Nigeria at the time.

Afolabi, who operates a law practice with a U.S. presence based in Staten Island, New York, is expected to apply his Nigerian legal knowledge and expertise to construct a robust defense against Abubakar’s claims. Other Nigerian lawyers and professionals, including Dayo Owotomo, are known to utilize the same address listed by Afolabi at 805 Castleton Avenue.

Abubakar seeks to address long-standing controversies regarding Tinubu’s age, educational background, and even gender, with the aim of challenging Tinubu’s electoral victory in Nigeria’s presidential election petitions tribunal. Independent journalist David Hundeyin obtained records indicating a female Bola Tinubu who attended Chicago State University in the 1970s. Although the institution confirmed the graduation of a Bola Tinubu on June 22, 1979, it declined to clarify the student’s gender or whether it was the same individual as Nigeria’s president.

Abubakar’s legal team finds Tinubu’s strong resistance to disclosing his records to be unusual and questionable. They argue that a president should be willing to address any doubts about their credentials rather than attempting to hide them. Consequently, Judge Jeffrey Gilbert has given Tinubu until August 23 to submit a compelling response explaining why his school records should not be released to Abubakar.

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