The BBC’s Global Disinformation Team says that there is no proof that President Bola Tinubu’s academic records from Chicago State University (CSU), which he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission for the 2023 presidential election, were falsified.
Chronicle NG had reported that the university released Tinubu’s academic records, which went viral on social media but were deemed false by several opposition party leaders and members, particularly his primary challengers, Labour Party’s Peter Obi and Peoples Democratic Party’s Atiku Abubakar.
The pursuit of Tinubu’s academic records led to Atiku filing a case in a US court, accusing him of faking the CSU diploma of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration obtained in 1979 that he gave to INEC.
In the trial, Atiku demanded a copy of any diploma issued by the CSU in 1979; a copy of the diploma the CSU gave to Tinubu in 1979; copies of diplomas with the same font, seal, signatures, and wording awarded to other students that are similar to what the CSU awarded to Tinubu in 1979; and documents from the CSU certified by Jamar Orr, who was then a staff member of the university, in the 12 months beginning August 1, 2022.
Tinubu’s lawyers, however, claimed that the records would not be relevant in Atiku’s Supreme Court appeal against Tinubu.
However, the magistrate, Jeffrey Gilbert, directed the CSU to produce all pertinent and non-privileged papers to Atiku’s legal team within two days.
However, the BBC discovered that Tinubu’s Social Security Number in the transcript from Chicago varsity matched what it had in other records in which Tinubu’s gender was identified as male.
The documents published raised issues about Tinubu’s birth date and secondary school. Tinubu attended Government College Lagos in 1970, according to one of the records. However, according to the school’s website, it was formed in 1974.
Aside from the gender disparity, the British media stated that the birth dates in several of the leaked documents deviated from President Tinubu’s official birth date of March 29, 1952.
Tinubu’s CSU transcript shows his date of birth as March 29, 1954, whereas his undergraduate admissions application form shows his date of birth as March 29, 1955.
Meanwhile, the BBC reported that Atiku’s counsel questioned the date of birth on the certificate during Westberg’s deposition on the paperwork submitted to INEC because Tinubu was alleged to have listed his date of birth as March 29, 1952.
According to the newspaper, Westberg acknowledged during cross-examination that the inconsistencies could have been caused by human error.