Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has urgently requested a U.S. federal judge to overlook academic records that imply he was admitted to Chicago State University as a female in the 1970s. He alleges that his political rival, Atiku Abubakar, is introducing this new evidence to unfairly surprise him in the ongoing legal dispute about the legitimacy of his academic credentials.
In a recent legal filing, Tinubu insisted that it’s improper to bring new issues into a case at a late stage to catch the opponent off guard. This sentiment was voiced on his behalf by one of his attorneys, Christopher Carmichael, according to a report by The Gazette.
The last-minute legal manoeuvre appears to be an attempt to downplay the significance of an upcoming court session scheduled for the next day. The judge overseeing the case, Jeffrey Gilbert of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, has indicated that a ruling could be imminent and has requested all parties to appear in court.
Abubakar, in turn, has sought multiple subpoenas to compel Chicago State University to release detailed records and sworn statements concerning Tinubu’s admission and graduation. The university has continuously presented conflicting documents, thereby deepening the mystery surrounding Tinubu’s academic history.
Distinct certificates have surfaced, both bearing Tinubu’s name but showing different graduation dates. Moreover, Elnora Daniel, who is said to have signed one of Tinubu’s certificates, wasn’t even employed by the university until many years after Tinubu’s claimed graduation date.
Due to these inconsistencies, Abubakar’s legal team is pursuing full disclosure from the university. They plan to use these records in challenging Tinubu’s election earlier this year, arguing that the irregularities in his academic records should disqualify him from holding office.
However, the lawyers of Bola Ahmed Tinubu argue that these discrepancies are part of a scheme to discredit him and should be considered as conspiracy theories. They maintain that the confounding information came from the university’s records and not from Tinubu himself.
Responding to this, Abubakar’s legal team submitted a counter-argument, insisting that the issues raised by Tinubu’s team should not delay the court proceedings planned for the following day. They consent to the inclusion of the latest documents filed by Tinubu, assuming they’ll have an opportunity to counter these arguments in the upcoming hearing.