June 13, 2024

Bola Tinubu, the incumbent President, has commented that Atiku Abubakar’s attempt to utilize his academic records from Chicago State University (CSU) against him in the election petitions tribunal was futile due to the fact that the Nigerian court was no longer accepting new evidence.

During the presidential election held on February 25, Mr. Abubakar secured the second position with 6.9 million votes, trailing closely behind Mr. Tinubu who clinched victory with 8.7 million votes.

However, the discrepancies in Mr. Tinubu’s educational credentials prompted Mr. Abubakar to seek assistance from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to subpoena CSU for the release of the President’s records. This was intended to support his arguments in the Nigerian elections tribunal before the anticipated judgment on September 21.

Mr. Abubakar had aimed to challenge the validity of Mr. Tinubu’s election victory on the basis of alleged electoral fraud, drug-related activities, and election irregularities. He had also intended to present the CSU records as evidence to bolster his claims.

Nevertheless, Mr. Tinubu countered in a U.S. federal court that it was unnecessary to provide his records to Mr. Abubakar at this juncture. He highlighted that the deadlines for introducing evidence in the elections tribunal had already passed in July.

Mr. Tinubu further clarified that the Nigerian case had progressed to the stage of awaiting judgment, and any submission of new evidence by Mr. Abubakar would contradict the court’s established order.

According to Mr. Tinubu’s lawyers, while Mr. Abubakar’s legal team believed they could introduce additional evidence, doing so would go against the decisions already made by the election court. They argued that the nature of the tribunal and its ongoing proceedings would not permit the requested material to be admitted.

The core information sought by Mr. Abubakar pertained to whether Mr. Tinubu had received a diploma and graduated from CSU. The university registrar confirmed this through an affidavit. Other requested information was deemed irrelevant by Mr. Tinubu’s legal representatives.

The President also placed blame on an unidentified university clerk for inaccuracies in the records that were previously released to Nigerian lawyer Mike Enahoro-Ebah in response to a prior subpoena.

The CSU registrar, Caleb Westberg, supported Mr. Tinubu’s position in a sworn affidavit. He mentioned that the discrepancies were likely the result of human error. This choice of words, however, raised suspicions about the university’s certainty regarding the nature of the error and its intent to avoid potential legal ramifications.

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