The All Progressives Congress has reacted after a court in the US ordered Chicago State University to release academic records of President Bola Tinubu to Atiku Abubakar.
The party described the ruling as ‘’an expedition in futility.’’
The ruling party said it had nothing to fear as the President had always boasted that he had nothing to hide.
This came as Judge Jeffrey Gilbert of the US District Court for Northern District of Illinois, ordered Tinubu’s alma mater to provide all relevant and non-privileged documents to the applicant, Atiku, within two days.
Documents sought by Atiku, through his counsel, Angela Liu, include the record of admission and acceptance at the university, dates of attendance including degrees, awards and honours attained by Tinubu at the university, among others.
In spite of the development, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Duro Meseko, said the ruling party was not bothered by the court order, stressing that the President had nothing to hide.
He said, “The President has always said over and again that he has nothing to hide. His records are there for all to see. Chicago University has also written severally to say that this man is from us. Nothing has changed. There is no cause for alarm. It is an expedition in futility.”
In its reaction, the Presidency submitted that Tinubu’s academic record would be of no value to the PDP presidential candidate, noting that Atiku and his party were simply chasing shadows.
A presidential aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, premised this on the grounds that Atiku who emerged first-runner up in the presidential election cannot present new evidence in court other than those he presented before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which ruled in Tinubu’s favour on September 6.
The official said, “After getting the President’s records, how will that help Atiku’s case? The university has not recanted its often-stated position that President Tinubu graduated in 1979 from the school.
“Atiku and PDP are chasing shadows. The President’s academic records have no probable value to Atiku’s case in court. At Supreme Court, you can’t plead new evidence outside what you frontloaded at the court of first instance which is the Appeal Court that has decided on the Presidential election petition.’’
The Coordinator of Tinubu’s legal team, Babatunde Ogala, SAN, could not be reached for comment on the implication of the US court order for the presidential election petition appeals filed by Atiku and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, at the Supreme Court.
The two candidates had challenged Tinubu’s eligibility to contest the February 25 presidential election following his victory which was affirmed by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in its September 6 judgment.
Atiku had approached the US court for an order compelling the CSU to release Tinubu’s academic records.
He alleged that Tinubu’s academic records were forged.
Tinubu’s credentials indicated that he graduated from CSU in 1979 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Accounting and Management, but there have been allegations bordering on discrepancies with his certificate.
Last week, a public affairs analyst, Durojaiye Ogunsanya, identified the former Lagos State governor as his classmate at the CSU.
Speaking on a TVC programme, Ogunsanya said he and the President graduated from the Department of Accounting and Business Administration in 1979.
“We met in a school in Chicago State; we were in the same department, College of Accounting, Business and Administration, with majors in Accounting, and we were in the same class together and graduated. He did attend the university and graduated in 1979 as I did. So I’m here to testify that he did attend the university, and he was a good student,” he clarified.
In January 2022, CSU confirmed through Beverly Poindexter, who is in charge of official transcript requests, enrolment, and degree verification at the Office of the Registrar, that Tinubu attended the institution.
The CSU said, “Mr Tinubu did attend our university, however, if further information is needed, go to studentclearinghouse.org website to make a formal request.”
In an earlier letter dated August 20, 1999, and signed by then Registrar, Lois Davis, the university stated that Tinubu was its student between 1977 and 1979.
But justifying his decision to obtain the President’s records, Atiku said unless a clarification is made, it is difficult, if not impossible, for the public to understand the academic journey of the former Lagos State governor.
Taking to his verified X handle @atiku on Sunday, August 28, Atiku wrote, “I woke up this morning wondering how we got to this cul de sac. In 1999, @officialABAT (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) claimed he attended St John’s Primary School, Aroloya, Lagos, before proceeding to Children Home School in Ibadan.
“According to him, his next port of call in his educational journey was Government College Ibadan, and Richard Daley College and Chicago State University in the United States. Curiously, in 2023, Tinubu settled with attending only Chicago State University.
“I am scratching my head. How is that possible? Methinks that all well-meaning Nigerians should be as confused as I am with Tinubu’s declaration that he had no primary and secondary education, yet he has a university degree. You may wish to ask Tinubu how he attained this feat so that we can learn from his ingenuity.”
He accompanied the post with a laughing emoji. In support of Atiku’s application at the US court, netizens last month stormed the official X (formerly Twitter) handle of the CSU, @ChicagoState, forcing the college to lock the page which was hitherto public.