According to court documents obtained by Peoples Gazette, Chicago State University (CSU) has claimed that an unnamed clerk may be to blame for the inconsistencies in President Bola Tinubu’s academic records.
Under oath, Caleb Westberg, the CSU registrar, was careful to use wording that implied the clerk who manually entered some information on Mr Tinubu’s credentials may or may not be at fault for the inaccuracies in the records.
“The difference in the date of award on the diploma versus the certified copy is likely the result of human error,” Mr Westberg stated under oath in an affidavit submitted to the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, on July 24. “The graduation date on the certified copy is typed in manually by a person and can be inaccurate.”
Atiku Abubakar, who was after Mr Tinubu’s academic records, initially filed his case in a county court before withdrawing it to correctly file the suit in a federal court in Illinois, Chicago.
The affidavit’s intentional use of “is likely” reflects the school’s uncertainty and may also be interpreted as the registrar’s attempt to absolve himself of any wrongdoing should the Court find evidence of misconduct and decide to bring charges against the institution.
In August 2022, CSU had released Mr Tinubu’s records to Nigerian lawyer Mike Enahoro-Ebah who had requested the documents to put to bed rumours regarding the then-presidential candidate.
The 2022 records showed that a female Bola Tinubu had graduated from the school on July 27, 1979, which the school now dubs a clerical error and said the correct date is July 22, 1979.
Judge Jeffrey Gilbert of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago had issued an August 23 ultimatum for Mr Tinubu to provide reasons as to why his CSU academic records should not be given to Mr Abubakar, his main challenger in the February 25 polls.
In response, Mr Tinubu’s lawyers said that the inconsistencies should be blamed on the clerk, which seems to corroborate CSU’s stance on the matter.
That CSU has withheld the name of the so-called clerk responsible for the errors is fuelling suspicions that the school may have something to cover up.
Also, Mr Abubakar’s lawyers are likely to capitalise on Mr Westberg’s language, which appeared to suggest he was not certain about his claim in the affidavit.
Mr Abubakar is seeking the nullification of Mr Tinubu’s emergence as president and hopes to use the academic records in supporting his argument at the presidential elections petitions tribunal in Abuja, Nigeria.