The controversy over President Bola Tinubu’s Chicago State University (CSU) certificate, which reached a crescendo last week following the deposition of the president’s academic records at a United States court continued yesterday, as former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, accused President Tinubu of twisting the deposition made by CSU.
Atiku said Tinubu’s intention was to twist the facts of the matter, “which deliberately aims to confuse the mind of the public concerning the matter.”
In a statement released by his media aide, Paul Ibe, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 presidential election, said “some media aides to the president have come out openly to ‘push back on the narrative’, while some media houses, especially one, have persistently slanted their story to justify a corrupted interpretation of the facts in the deposition.
“Sadly, however, the truth of the matter remains that President Tinubu falsified a document he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and swore an affidavit under oath to back up his forgery.
“On page 26 of the deposition, which is publicly available, Registrar of CSU, Caleb Westberg, under oath, was asked a simple question that “CSU has determined that it does not have a true and correct copy of the diploma issued to Bola Tinubu in 1979, to which the Registrar responded, “that’s correct.”
“Also, on page 27, a similar question was put to Westberg: ‘So, CSU, after going through every diploma, was unable to find an authentic copy of any diploma that CSU issued to Tinubu in 1979. Is that correct?’ The CSU Registrar, in his response, said: ‘We did not find any diploma issued by CSU in 1979 to Mr. Tinubu.’
And coming straight to the specific issue of whether CSU is aware of, or in possession of the diploma that Tinubu submitted to INEC, to which Westberg simply said, “Correct, we are not aware of it.”
According to the former vice president, “anyone who has taken time to do a thorough reading of the deposition will come to the unambiguous conclusion that the footprints of Tinubu’s odyssey as far as the CSU documents are concerned is filled with profound forgeries and abuse of administrative due process.
“Tinubu’s supporters and spin doctors will want to force the narrative of, at least, ‘Tinubu graduated from the CSU down our throat,’ even when the narrative has no foothold in logic.
“The question remains: How does a candidate graduate from a university that you were never qualified for? According to information in the open, President Tinubu applied to CSU with a pre-qualifying 1970 certificate from Government College Lagos, whereas the school did not come into existence until 1974. Maybe this should make Tinubu the first man ever to have an anticipatory certification from the school four clear years before the founding of the school.
“Another mystery is that in addition to the non-existing Government College Lagos certificate, Tinubu presented a certificate from another school in the United States that belongs to a female candidate and a Cambridge HSC of 1970, the same year he purportedly graduated from a secondary school in Nigeria.
“Lastly, while supporters of the President are quick to reference his transcript from CSU as evidence of his studentship, we are alarmed how his NYSC certificate bears Bola Adekunle Tinubu, even when the CSU said under oath that the middle name of ‘A’ was never interpreted in any document in his file.
“Every Nigerian who has undergone the NYSC programme understands that the names on the NYSC are never a creation of the candidate, but the official name that the student was officially known as, from their tertiary institution. Tinubu was allegedly never known as Adekunle at CSU. Thus, the only way to understand how Adekunle was smuggled on his NYSC discharge certificate can only be explained as a forgery.
“It is even more shameful that just when this whole scandal continues to unfold, media handlers of President Tinubu have, from nowhere, smuggled a middle name of Adekunle into his Wikipedia account. The word Adekunle in Yoruba is a house filled with royalty. But in this instance, we daresay it is a house filled with forgeries. It is, therefore, becoming very obvious that there is no end point to how President Tinubu and his spin doctors will continue to use one forgery to cover the other,” Atiku submitted.
REACTING to Atiku’s insistence of forgery allegations against the President, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has said the Supreme Court will find President Tinubu not guilty of certificate forgery, adding that until the vendor who issued a replacement certificate to President Tinubu denies the document, there is no case against him.
Keyamo stated this in a long tweet posted on X yesterday. Addressing the controversies over CSU records, Keyamo insisted that “you cannot allege or prove forgery except the purported maker of the document denies its authenticity.”
He wrote: “When some comments or perception of otherwise plain and simple issues are so moronic, mischievous or downright odious, they really do not deserve a response because you’d be dignifying idiocy. But let me drop this here for posterity:
“I have been a defence and prosecution lawyer at the highest level in criminal trials for more than 30 years. You cannot allege or prove forgery except the purported maker of the document denied its authenticity or there is uncontradicted evidence of a forensic report that categorically says the document was deliberately altered or concocted by the person who uttered (in a legal sense) or issued it.
“Applying this principle to the case of Atiku Abubakar V Chicago State University, so long as the university openly said they do not issue replacement certificates, but that vendors do so on their behalf, all these noise about so-called forgery are useless until the particular vendor that issued the replacement certificate to President Tinubu denies its authenticity. And it is the duty of the accuser to fish out the said vendor and get that evidence. It is not the other way around. He who alleges must prove.
“This is the simple principle I laid down in 2019 during our defence of then President Muhammadu Buhari that has been so mischievously celebrated as if they have hit the bull’s eye. Unfortunately for them, President Tinubu is as clean and white as snow on this issue and we are again waiting for them at the Supreme Court.
“As for Atiku (the famed SPV king and the one who disgraced Nigeria internationally with the money-laundering case involving Congressman William Jefferson), we acknowledge the valedictory speech he delivered a few days ago signifying his retirement from politics and we wish him Godspeed in that retirement.”
Another aide of Atiku, the Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, alleged that the President Tinubu-led administration has perfected a sinister plot to gag the media ahead of the release of the records containing his investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the U.S. adding that the threat by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to sanction Arise Television News was only the tip of the iceberg.
Shaibu said in a statement on Sunday that the NBC had been watching as media platforms like Television Continental (TVC) had been constantly attacking Atiku and had refused to even air opposition views. He said Tinubu’s administration had become frustrated with the CSU scandal and was planning a massive offensive in the coming days.
Shaibu added: “Back in February, NBC tried to show a bit of fairness and fined TVC for unprofessional broadcasts, including the airing of the Joint Media Directorate of the APC Presidential Campaign Council press briefing, where Keyamo said Obasanjo and Atiku ran a criminal enterprise and an empire of fraud in Abuja.
“However, since Tinubu became president on May 29, NBC has become more partisan than ever. The NBC boss, Balarabe Ilelah, is obviously seeking to retain his appointment and is now dancing to the tune of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and their master at the Presidential Villa.
“The NBC has now been co-opted into a grand plot to gag the media over Tinubu’s certificate scandal. Having lost the battle in the court of public opinion, they are now trying to use the powers of the state to browbeat the media into silence. This is indeed shameful for a man who claimed to be a hero of the June 12 struggle.”
Shaibu noted that this is not the time for the Nigerian media to show any weakness. He stressed that the trove of documents that the FBI was set to release this month would expose details of the investigation on Tinubu.
Atiku’s aide added that the dissemination of this information must not be left to social media alone. The media must rise to its role as the watchdog of society as enshrined in Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution. (Guardian)