A team of United States attorneys say they are highly puzzled by President Bola Tinubu’s desperate antics to slow-walk legal proceedings and his fierce opposition to releasing his academic records.
Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar’s lawyers are asking a federal court to issue a subpoena for Chicago State University to release Mr Tinubu’s school records, but the Nigerian leader is fighting tooth and nail to block the application, court filings seen by Peoples Gazette showed.
“We continue to be puzzled by Mr Tinubu’s vigorous opposition to our asking CSU about documents that are already in the public domain and/or have already been submitted in the Nigerian proceedings so that we can learn CSU’s position on whether, how, and when they were provided to other Nigerian litigants, and CSU’s position on the authenticity of the documents,” Liu Angela representing Mr Atiku wrote in an email to the lawyers of Mr Tinubu and Chicago university on August 3.
The CSU registrar’s office had told The Gazette that it graduated a Bola Tinubu on June 22, 1979, but did not elaborate when pressed on whether the student was a male or female, much less if it is the same person now occupying Nigeria’s presidency.
According to Ms Angela, Mr Tinubu, president of Africa’s largest economy, should have been keen to clear up any inconsistencies in his academic achievements and set the records straight by allowing the expedition of the legal process.
“If there is an explanation for the discrepancies we have identified, we would think that Mr Tinubu would be eager to provide it. If you would like to provide an explanation to us, we are happy to consider it. That might preclude the need for, or at least expedite the deposition,” the lawyer said, suggesting a willingness to cooperate with Mr Tinubu’s legal team to shut down controversies surrounding the president’s credentials.
She stressed that Mr Tinubu’s adamant refusal to grant them access to his school records has only fuelled suspicions and suggested that he has something to conceal.
“In candour, the vehemence of Mr Tinubu’s opposition to this discovery is increasing rather than mitigating our suspicions,” Mr Angela asserted.
The attorney representing Mr Abubakar further noted how Mr Tinubu was frustrating and stalling the entire judicial process.
She explained that Mr Tinubu had been advised — in writing — to join the case earlier since the applicant would not oppose the request, but that he chose to remain silent and waited until Mr Abubakar had submitted an ‘Order Directing Discovery’ of his academic records in court before expressing an interest in joining the suit.
Then, Mr Tinubu turned around a week later and headed straight to the States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to apply to join as previously advised without consulting with Mr Abubakar, perceived as a devious delay gimmick.
“At the outset, Applicant emphasizes that he does not oppose the Motion, but questions why Mr Tinubu filed it, instead of contacting and coordinating with Applicant’s counsel to submit a joint submission,” Ms Angela wrote in her response to Mr Tinubu’s motion to join on August 4.
“Thus, on July 27, 2023, almost a week prior to filing the application, counsel for applicant advised counsel for Mr Tinubu and CSU that applicant intended to file the application and that he was “willing to stipulate to Mr. Tinubu’s intervention in the Section 1782 federal action,” Mr Abubakar’s lawyer told the court.
Mr Abubakar is optimistic that the academic records would support his case against Mr Tinubu at the presidential elections petitions tribunal to prove that the recently sworn-in president may have falsified his credentials and should be disqualified.
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