July 20, 2024

Tinubu’s Certificate issued By CSU, Replacement Diplomas Are Done By Outside Vendors – Registrar Deposes in Court


Atiku, Tinubu in legal tango

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By Correspondent

The controversy trialing academic records of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu came to crescendo yesterday in Chicago, United States of America.

The event was the formal deposition by the star witness – the Chicago State University Registrar, Caleb Westberg. In summary, Westberg stated that the Tinubu, a male student, is the President of Nigeria. He further deposed that the same Bola Ahmed Tinubu that attended the Southwest College is the same person who attended and graduated from the institution in 1979.

Westberg testimonies are in the deposition he made in the Office of Angela Liu, Dechert LLP on 35 West Wacker Drive, Suite 3400, Chicago, IL 60601. Liu is Counsel to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who secured an Illinois court order to compel the CSU to release to him the academic records of President Tinubu.

The CSU registrar stated that the admission letter issued by CSU to Tinubu clearly showed that the Tinubu, who attended the school between 1977 and 1979, was a male.

The university was represented by a lawyer, Michael Hayes, while five other lawyers from Liu’s firm represented Abubakar and joined by zoom.

President Tinubu was represented by two lawyers – Victor P. Henderson and Oluwole Afolabi.

The following is a recap of Mr. Caleb Westberg deposition:

“There were materials in Mr. Tinubu’s records that show that he was a male. I see the application to CSU. Mr. Tinubu identified himself as a male. His letter of admission identified him as a male. It says: ‘Dear Mr. Tinubu’

“We believe Bola Tinubu who attended CSU is the same person who is the president of Nigeria today.”

When pressed further by Atiku’s lawyers on why he believes the person who is the president of Nigeria is the same person who attended CSU, the registrar said: “Tinubu is an unusual name in the US. He matched the Records in the file against the information provided by the student or on behalf of the student.

”We believe Bola Tinubu who attended CSU is the same person who is the president of Nigeria today. The university only has diplomas that students didn’t pick up in its possession.”

Restating that the varsity does not typically keep diplomas, Westberg said: “I have the diploma that was made available to Mr. Enahoro-Ebah in our possession because Mr. Tinubu did not pick it up.

 ”I do not have the Diploma that was submitted to INEC in our possession because he had picked it up.”

The CSU registrar said he was getting between 5 and 30 enquiries a day regarding President Tinubu, but stated that the institution did not notify Tinubu about such requests.

On Tinubu’s gender palaver, the registrar explained: “Tinubu applied to the university as a male and a letter of admission was issued to a male.

On the certified true copy of documents presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the registrar said: ”I’m not aware of any instance where CSU had been requested to certify a document.”

He stated that Mr. Afolabi, who was acting for President Tinubu, insisted that the documents must be certified, adding that Afolabi and Mr. Orr communicated by email.

 Westberg added: “I don’t recall seeing the emails. I don’t know if Jason Carter approved of the certification. Apart from Jason Carter, I do not know anyone else who was involved in the process.

“I went into Mr. Tinubu’s student’s file and produced the documents to Mr. Orr. I didn’t know that the documents would be certified. I don’t get involved in legal matters.

“Mr. Tinubu requested that the documents be released to Mr. Afolabi for ‘legal proceedings’. The signature on the consent form is similar to the signature we have on record for Mr. Tinubu.

“All of the certified documents came from CSU’s files. Nothing was handed over to us by Mr. Afolabi except for the FERPA form.”

Westberg submitted that, the CSU had never certified documents for anyone before, saying: “It must have been made because there was more of a Nigerian thing.”

Responding to a question on why Tinubu requested a diploma and not pick it up or ask that it be sent to him, the registrar said: “You would have to ask him. In the U.S., diplomas are considered merely ceremonial documents. In some other countries, it may be considered more.

”In the U.S., more reliance is placed on transcripts and not on Diplomas.” He insisted that no interaction existed between him and Tinubu’s men.

“Mr. Tinubu’s counsel did not prepare any affidavit for me. He didn’t draft anything for me. My statement that Mr. Bola Tinubu graduated from CSU was based on the transcripts in our possession.

“I have never met Bola Tinubu. I have never seen him. He did not visit our campus. He does not donate money to the school.

“The documents were released in pursuance of a FERPA request. I believe Mr. Afolabi requested that the documents be certified.

“I’m not aware if the stamp affixed by Mr. Orr to the documents was an official document. it is not part of CSU practice.

“Mr. Orr later departed from CSU after these documents were certified. I don’t know if his departure was connected to the certification of the documents; but I don’t think it was.

“I did not rely on information from public records to come to the conclusion that President Bola Tinubu is the person who attended CSU. 

“I am not aware that the FBI contacted CSU on whether Bola Tinubu attended CSU. Between 1979 and when I assumed duties, CSU must have had at least six registrars. I never spoke to Ms. Davies. Some policies have changed over the years.”

On the drama around replacement diploma, Westberg responded that, “When there is a replacement diploma, it is done by outside vendors. I don’t know who created Exhibit #6. 

“The institution decided that my name should not be typed on the ‘To whom it may concern’ letter because of the sheer volume of requests I was getting. 

“Before CSU, I was at UC, Berkeley and UC, Irving. I’m sure people make mistakes in data entry from time to time. Before this lawsuit, I didn’t know anyone Bola.

“It was possible that someone assumes Bola to be a female and therefore marked the Southwest transcript as such. I am familiar with the affidavit filed by Olajide Adeniji. I don’t recall his gender.

“I don’t know if Atiku Abubakar is male or female but I heard is a male. I can’t tell by his name. I checked the record and confirmed that Olajide Adeniji and Bola Tinubu were at CSU at the same time.

“The person (Olajide) said he ran in a closely-contested race against Bola Tinubu for the leadership of the Accounting Student Union.

“I see that he said the same person he ran against is now the president of Nigeria.

“The Bola Tinubu who attended Southwest College took Accounting courses. I see the address indicated for Bola Tinubu. It’s not far from CSU. 

“I looked at the whole record in making the determination that the Bola Tinubu who is the president of Nigeria today is the same person who attended CSU. 

“The entries’1952’ and ‘1954’ could have been made in error. The courses taken by Bola Tinubu at Southwest and CSU are consistent. 

“Right after the entry ‘F’, the SSN entered indicated in the Southwest transcript is the same as the one that was indicated in CSU records. That is one of the indicia that we use to identify students. A social security is a unique identifier.

 “I recognise Southwest College as a feeder school for CSU. Bola Tinubu graduated with honours. It’s a GPA distinction. It is awarded to high performing students. Accounting is a rigorous major. He graduated with honours.”

While responding to another question, he said: “Yes, certain students are more motivated than others. The students who are more motivated go on to accomplish greater things in life. I’ve seen that.

“As far as I know, he’s the president of Nigeria. There were materials in Mr. Tinubu’s records that show that he was a male. I see the application to CSU. Mr. Tinubu identified himself as a male.

“His letter of admission identified him as a male. It says: ‘Dear Mr. Tinubu’ I see the entry on APC’s website wherein President Bola Tinubu was said to have been born in Lagos on March 29, 1952. I don’t have a copy of the diploma that was submitted to INEC. So, I can’t comment on it.

“I am not aware of the fact that in the form that he submitted to INEC he claimed a different nationality or date of birth.  

“Yes, our records show that he was born on March 29th. One has ‘1954’ while the other shows ‘1952’. From time to time, people do make mistakes when making such entries. We know Mr. Tinubu’s Social Security Number. It’s contained in his records.”

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