The Chicago State University has denied that the certificate President Bola Tinubu presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, e
The over 200-page documents released after the testimony at the Northern District Court of Illinois by Caleb Westberg, CSU Registrar, affirmed that indeed there was a Bola A. Tinubu who shared the same social security number with another person of Nigerian descent but that the diploma certificate stamped by INEC was not issued by CSU.
Westberg who was testifying before the court as he was being cross-examined by the lead counsel to Atiku Abubakar, the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Angela Liu, said, “CSU has determined that it does not have a true and correct copy of the diploma issued to Bola A. Tinubu.”
He explained that, “We went through every diploma in our possession” and found none “given the importance of this matter.”
Atiku had approached the US court to compel the CSU to release all academic records of his opponent to aid his case in Court which he said amounted to forgery following several years of inconsistencies in Tinubu’s biodata.
There were controversies surrounding the president’s age, secondary school, state of origin, university education among others.
Tinubu had said he graduated from University of Chicago before saying it was an error while appearing before the Lagos State House of Assembly in 1999 when he was placed under investigation.
The House however cleared him of any wrongdoing at the time he was governor of the state.
But inconsistencies in his biodata regarding his filing with INEC prompted fresh request from Atiku who through his counsels subpoenaed the US court to unfreeze all the records held on Tinubu.
The school acquiesced to release the documents following the court directive and sent its representative to throw light on the information.
Answering a range of questions from Atiku’s lawyer, Westberg told the court that “CSU was unable to find an authentic copy of any diploma that CSU issued to Tinubu in 1979.”
He clarified that the school did not “have a copy of Mr. Tinubu’s June 22, 1979 diploma but his June 27, 1979 diploma; It is in our possession.”
He said the June 27, 1979 diploma in the school possession is “a reordered copy.”
He stated that the June 22, 1979 diploma certificate, stamped by INEC which Tinubu filed with the electoral body to aid his qualification for the 2023 presidential election was not issued by the school,
Referred to as ‘INEC Diploma’, the deponent said the diploma was fake because at the time a certain Bola A. Tinubu was a student in the school, CSU did not have “a Board of Trustees.”
He averred that the diploma certificate purportedly granted on “’this 22nd day of June 1979,” was not consistent being that one of the signatories, Elnora Daniel, “was not the Chair or President of CSU in 1979.”
Rather, “She was the President from 1998 to 2008.”
He also said the other two signatures from “Herbert A. Conley” and the other were not Dean or chairman in 1979.”
He revealed that apart from the seal on the certificate being triangle with the two lines through it and not having the word “responsibility” under it and also not having “1867 under it” the certificate is invalid and inconsistent with the one CSU issued.
He explained that no diploma certificate issued in 1979 had three signatures or the triangle seal or any that cuts off “the signature of Herbert Conley’s position.”
When questioned about the authenticity of the diploma certificate Tinubu submitted to INEC, Westberg said, “The student in question graduated from the University on June 22, 1979. We were not qualified to verify whether this document is authentic, given that it is not in our possession,” explaining that there have been several forged CSU documents consistent with the one Tinubu submitted to INEC.
He however said he could not support his finding “to provide a name of an entity that does such (forge), advising that “You can Google this easily. There are many companies that do this for folks,” pointing out that, “CSU has no record of issuing this INEC diploma to President Tinubu in 1979.”
Asked by Atiku’s lawyer that, “So CSU did not issue the June 22, 1979 diploma as well as the June 27, 1979 diploma to Mr. Tinubu in 1979,” the witness responded, “We issue a diploma to every student that graduates. I think I’m a little confused.”
When further pressed, “So CSU did not issue the INEC diploma to President Tinubu in 1979,” the witness answered, “No, not in 1979.”
He added that “CSU did not issue a diploma dated June 27, 1979 to Mr. Tinubu in 1979.’
He explained that a stock letter from CSU dated June 27, 2022 addressed to Tinubu was written by him,” and that “About 20 years ago we received similar requests and a past Registrar named Lois Davis looked into the matter and drafted a more or less identical letter at that time as well.”
According to him, CSU received similar requests about Tinubu’s records 20 years ago when Lois Davis was the Registrar but that he did not have a record in his possession.
He explained that the letter in the school’s possession was not “drafted at the request of Tinubu.”
Westberg said CSU received “about five to 30 inquiries a day via email about Tinubu certificate.
On one of the letters, which stated, “Please be advised that Bola A. Tinubu attended Chicago State University from August 1977 to June 1979. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with Honors on June 22, 1979. His major was accounting,” he said the information on the letter was possible due to the available transcript.
He said the student transcript contained key information used in the letter but that “Tinubu did not apply for the letter noting further that there was a “Bola Tinubu who attended CSU.”
When asked if he “is simply assuming that Bola Tinubu is the same person as the President, the witness just replied, “That is correct.”
He identified a letter written to Mike Enahoro Ebah, through his lawyer, who had contacted the school for Tinubu’s record where the school said it does not “have a record of any documentation for a passport, visa, social security card, or driver’s licence or a record of how tuition was paid during this time of attendance,” noting it indeed conflicts with other available records held on Tinubu.
He accepted that the “birth date appears to be 3-29-54”, inconsistent with the birth date of “3-29-52” Tinubu had submitted to INEC during cross examination.
The witness further said CSU should not be blamed for Southwest College’s recognition of Tinubu as a female.
“We can attest that this is part of the student record. This was received by the university. This is what we have in connection with the student record,” he explained.
When pressed further, Westberg said he’s not saying that, “Bola A. Tinubu, who is listed as female here, is the same as the Bola A. Tinubu, who is president of Nigeria.
“I’m not saying that because we believe this to be a part of the student record. So while, you know, I can’t attest to whether or not that was caught at the time, this was submitted and received as part of the student file,”’ he explained.
He added that, “I’m saying these are accurate documents,” while adding that, “The university is not confused about that (gender). We issued an admissions letter to Mr. Bola Tinubu. He applied as a male student. That is a part of the record.
He said he did not know who prepared the diploma Tinubu submitted to INEC
He added that “CSU never certified any documents for anyone” and that “I don’t know if it’s an exception, but we complied with the request” adding that the certification certificate being paraded by Tinubu, “I believe this was made because it’s more of a Nigerian thing.”
Westberg agreed that he did not know that Tinubu’s middle name is Ahmed in the diploma certificate he submitted to INEC.
He indicated that the diploma that was provided as the official copy has the wrong date of graduation noting that “the difference in the date of award on the diploma versus the certified copy is likely the result of human error.”