What is the latest news on Tinubu’s certificate saga?
President Bola Tinubu has reportedly declined an invitation from the CNN to appear on its program and address the controversy surrounding his academic credentials. The president, who is facing a legal challenge from his main rival, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, over the authenticity of his certificate from the Chicago State University (CSU), has been silent on the matter since it erupted in June 2022.
According to a source at the CNN, who spoke to INVESTIGATIVE WIRES on condition of anonymity, the network had reached out to Tinubu’s office several times to request an interview with him, but was met with either refusal or silence. The source said the CNN wanted to give Tinubu an opportunity to clear the air on the allegations that he submitted a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2023 presidential election.
The source said: “We have been trying to get President Tinubu on our show for months now, but he has been avoiding us. We wanted to hear his side of the story and ask him some tough questions about his certificate. But he seems to be hiding something. He has not given us any reason for his refusal. We are disappointed that he is not willing to face the public and answer for his actions.”
The certificate saga has cast a shadow over Tinubu’s presidency, as Atiku Abubakar has filed a suit at the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, seeking the release of Tinubu’s academic records by the CSU. Atiku’s lawyers have argued that Tinubu’s certificate is a forgery and that he is not qualified to hold the office of the president under the Nigerian Constitution.
The CSU has confirmed that Tinubu graduated from the institution in 1979, but has been unable to verify the authenticity of the document he presented to INEC. The university has cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects student records’ privacy and limits what it can reveal to third parties. However, it has also stated that it would comply with a court order if issued by a US judge.
Tinubu has opposed Atiku’s application and accused him of being desperate and malicious. He has also blamed the discrepancies on his certificate on the school’s clerk and claimed that he obtained it legitimately. He has not, however, provided any evidence to back up his claims or explained why his certificate bears the signature of Elnora Daniel, who was not a staff member of the CSU until 1998².
The case is still before the US court and on Monday 25, September, 2023 has been fixed for its hearing. Meanwhile, Nigerians are left wondering about the true identity of their president and whether he is fit to lead them.