Tinubu’s records: APC berates Atiku as ex-VP sets to submit documents in S’Court

•Atiku’s journey to Chicago varsity, a fruitless exercise, ex-VP a loser, says APC

•President’s documents released by varsity have vindicated us, PDP insists

The All Progressives Congress on Tuesday vehemently scolded the Peoples Democratic Party presidential standard bearer, Atiku Abubakar, over his quest to obtain President Bola Tinubu’s academic records from the Chicago State University.

The National Publicity Director of the APC, Bala Ibrahim, attributed Atiku and the PDP’s action to what he called ‘post-election defeat disorder.’

He claimed Nigerians had rejected the opposition party following years of mismanagement and admonished the former vice president to quit politics.

This is happening as the United States’ District Court for Northern Illinois reportedly received the former Lagos State governor’s certificates as ordered by Justice Nancy Maldonado.

The PUNCH reports that the court was still taking the deposition of Tinubu’s certificates as of 8pm Nigerian time on Tuesday, following the release of the documents by CSU on Monday in compliance with the court ruling.

The Chicago State University released the academic records of the President following requests by former vice president Atiku, who was the PDP candidate in the February 25, 2023 presidential election.

Magistrate Jeffrey Gilbert had on September 19 granted Atiku’s request for the release of Tinubu’s academic records but the President filed a review of the order.

Tinubu’s lawyers insisted that the documents would not be relevant in Atiku’s appeal against Tinubu at the Supreme Court and asked for a review of the ruling.

However, Justice Nancy Maldonado, a federal judge, overruled Tinubu’s objections and ordered the CSU to release the president’s academic records.

In the CSU documents, which went viral late Monday night, the institution responded to Atiku’s four requests.

In response to Atiku’s first request for “A true and correct copy of any diploma for a Bachelor of Science degree issued by CSU in 1979,” the US varsity said, “The documents responsive to this request which CSU, after diligent search, has been able to locate are produced herewith and Bates labelled CSU 0001 through CSU 0007. The students’ names on these diplomas have been redacted for privacy reasons.”

On the second request for “A true and correct copy of any diploma issued by CSU in 1979 to Tinubu”, the varsity said, “CSU does not, in the ordinary course, keep copies of student diplomas, and after the diligent search cannot locate a copy of the original diploma it prepared for Mr Tinubu in 1979, hence, has no documents responsive to this request.”

Responding to the third request seeking the release of true and correct copies of the diplomas issued by CSU other than (Tinubu) contained in the same font, seal, signatures and wording, the CSU said, “The documents responsive to this request which CSU, after diligent search, has been able to locate are produced herewith and Bates labelled CSU 0008 through CSU 0010.

‘’The students’ names on these diplomas have been redacted for privacy reasons. The CSU is also producing Bates labelled as CSU 0011 and CSU 0012, diplomas prepared for other CSU students (with their names redacted for privacy) which match the format of the Tinubu’s replacement diploma dated June 27, 1997.”

Also, while responding to Atiku’s fourth request for “true and correct copies of any CSU documents relating to Tinubu’s that were certified by Jamar C. Orr, Esq, including with limitation, the documents in Exhibit D to the Uwais Declaration, and all communications to or from CSU concerning the certification of such documents by Jamar C. Orr, Esq, during the period August 1, 2022 to August 1, 2023’’, the CSU said, “The respondents’ documents certified by Mr. Orr are produced herewith and Bates labelled CSU 0013 through CSU 0032, CSU’s prior objection to the communication aspect of this request was sustained by the Court (see Doc. 40 at pp, 28-29 and Doc. 54 at p, 32), hence no documents responsive to that subject are being produced.”

The Coordinator of the Tinubu Presidential Legal Team, Babatunde Ogala, SAN, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, but the APC publicity director berated Atiku for going to such a length in bitterness over his electoral loss.

He stated, “We have said times without number that the PDP and Atiku are suffering from ‘defeat disorder syndrome.’ The next thing for them to do now is to file another application at the court asking for the number of times Tinubu attended lectures at the Chicago State University.

‘’There is just nothing they won’t question, including asking God why he created the man Tinubu. There is what they call post-trauma disorder syndrome. If they are not treated for it, they will continue to manifest stupidity until such a time when the proper psychiatric assessment of their situation is done.’’

Ibrahim further knocked the PDP for refusing to accept defeat, advising the party’s presidential candidate to retire from public life.

“Remember, Nigerians voted them out. They refused to accept it and went to court. The court threw them out. They refused and went abroad where they were voted out again.

‘’Now, they are still refusing to accept. To us, it is a foregone issue. The case has been rested. Atiku should just swallow his pride and bow out of public life,” he counselled.

PDP reacts

However, the PDP insisted that Tinubu’s academic record released by his alma mater had vindicated its position.

The PDP Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Ibrahim Abdullahi, claimed the CSU record indicated that the President presented conflicting documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Abdullahi hinted that the relevant documents would be presented before the Supreme Court to prove the PDP and Atiku’s case against Tinubu.

The PUNCH reports that Atiku had filed 35 grounds of appeal at the apex court to nullify the Presidential Election Petitions Court’s judgment that affirmed Tinubu as the winner of the February presidential election.

Asked if they were satisfied with the documents released by the CSU, Abdullahi said, “Yes we are; that was exactly what we requested. We have suspected and proven that we have a conflicting record about Tinubu, the President of the country, and that is why we sought reliefs from the court to see what he was issued when he graduated from the Chicago State University as he claimed in 1979.”

Speaking further, he added, “He who alleges must prove. Now that we have the document, we will tender it before the Supreme Court. So it’s now for the revered justices of the Supreme Court to see if indeed what we have said against this person can be proven, and then the necessary thing be done per the extant provisions, laws and the Electoral Act.”

Declaring that ‘the game is up,’ Abdullahi stated, “If the judiciary has any modicum of honour left in it, this is the time to prove it and if Tinubu and his people, APC have anything good for Nigeria in their entire conception, this is the time to prove it. Tinubu and the APC should apologise to Nigerians, hand over and go.”

Speaking on the release of the President’s record, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace, Festus Keyamo, and Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Tope Ajayi, mocked Atiku, saying his effort was an exercise in futility.

Reacting via his official X account (formerly Twitter), Keyamo described Atiku’s legal battle to secure Tinubu’s academic records in a bid to humiliate him as a futile effort.

 He said, “From the responses by Chicago State University, Atiku’s journey to Chicago and back has been a journey to nowhere, a fruitless exercise and an odyssey in self-humiliation. President Tinubu and Nigerians deserve an unreserved apology from him.

“It is now obvious that the loss of Atiku Abubakar at the last polls hurt him deeply more than all his previous losses put together; it has since sent him spinning like a drunkard, lashing out to hold on to every single straw that resembles a lifeline.

‘’This is bad for his health; he should accept that this game is over (as the Chicago State University responses have shown) and retire peacefully to his famed abode. Those around him have a role to play in this.”

The senior special adviser to the president on media and publicity also chided the PDP presidential candidate, whom he labelled an ingrate.

Ajayi, who bared his mind via his X account, disclosed that nobody deserves to subject a ‘friend’ to the level of indignity as Atiku did.

“For me, the issue is not whether President Tinubu graduated from Chicago State University or not. It is the fact that former Vice President Atiku is not a decent man.

“Nobody should subject his or her friend to the level of assault and indignity he has subjected President Tinubu to because of earthly position and contestation for power.

“We are talking of a Tinubu that had moved mountains for Atiku in the past; a Tinubu that offered Atiku a shelter when he was thoroughly beaten by rain and stripped naked by President Obasanjo and his party PDP in 2007,” he stated.

Lawyers react

Evaluating the probative value of Tinubu’s academic records to Atiku’s appeal at the Supreme Court, Adegoke Rasheed,  SAN, submitted there was nothing the PDP standard bearer and his legal team could do with them.

He said Atiku in his petition neither made an allegation of forgery nor challenged Tinubu’s educational qualifications.

Adegoke said, “It is just a sheer waste of time, energy and resources. Tinubu had tendered his transcript at the tribunal to show that he was educated beyond what was constitutionally required. The irony of it is that in their petition, they did not plead anything relating to educational qualification nor did they make any allegation of forgery.

“In election petitions, you do not plead piecemeal.  It requires you to frontload every allegation that you have.  If they said he was not qualified, they were required in law immediately after making those allegations to provide the basis and the grounds for the non-qualification as required by the constitution.

“Also, the law states that when you are filling your petition, you must plead every of your prayers so that the other party can respond to you.  You can’t file a fresh allegation after a party has filed his defence.

“That aside, the document given to them is to support what?  An allegation they did not plead? This is even when the trial had been concluded.  The Constitution says no evidence can be advanced to prove unpleaded facts. Now, that the documents given did not say Tinubu did not go to the school, he just wasted his resources and time getting them.’’

Also, Ifedayo Adedipe, SAN, said the CSU documents may add no value to Atiku’s case at the apex court.

He said, “If you ask me, I don’t know the utilitarian value of the documents. I am not involved in the case but from what I have heard; Tinubu’s education qualification vis-a-vis his certificate was not an issue at the tribunal. But when Tinubu responded, he incorporated his documents into it. The tribunal has made a pronouncement on the validity of such incorporation.

‘’Be that as it may, the quest in the US; what is the purpose? It is just politics and in the process dragging the image of the country.  I do not think we should take politics to this level.”

Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, explained that the CSU documents would only be relevant if they held any evidence contrary to what had earlier been presented by the legal team of the President, adding that it would be difficult for the opposition party to file new evidence in an appeal case.

“There are factors, there are guidelines in which fresh evidence can be revealed on appeal; it must be evidence that is not available at the time you pursued the case in the lower court. Maybe something that came about ex-improviso, after the proceedings. So, you don’t admit fresh evidence on appeal. And from what I’ve read, I don’t think the documents can be of any help to them,” he submitted.

A lawyer, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said it would be interesting to see how Atiku’s legal team intended to use the CSU certificates since they had previously lost the case at the tribunal.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, could not be immediately reached for comments.

However, a presidential aide, who chose to speak on condition of anonymity, defended the President, saying the development had shown that the president has nothing to hide.

When asked for comments, a Senior Presidency source who did not want to be mentioned said “There is no school abroad, especially in the West that will claim a person graduated from their university when he didn’t graduate. They don’t have any interest in our local politics.

“So when Salisu Buhari claimed to have graduated from the University of Toronto, it was through an email they said they don’t know him. He’s not in their records. But CSU has been consistent about the President graduating from their school since people have been asking in 1999.

“People sent tons of emails and they have come out to say he graduated Summa

Cum Laude. Is that not the equivalent of what the British call First Class? So, what does Atiku need again?”

(Punch)

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