It’s been seven months since the 2023 presidential election, and five months since Bola Ahmed Tinubu was sworn in as Nigeria’s president. 

But it doesn’t appear we’ve heard the last of the events that happened before, during and after the elections. Although the election tribunal struck out the petitions brought against the legitimacy of the elections and Tinubu’s presidency, Atiku Abubakar is still pursuing the case in court. 

He has now taken the fight to the United States, convincing a court in Chicago to ask Chicago State University to turn in Bola Tinubu’s academic records. Chicago State University has complied with the court orders and released the documents. 

So, what are the facts?

Tinubu’s certificate is disputable

Atiku Abubakar’s biggest argument is the authenticity of the certificate Tinubu presented to the election commission. Taking his case to a United States court, Atiku and his legal team had three asks from the University:

  1. An example of a CSU diploma issued in 1979
  2. Tinubu’s certificate issued in the same year
  3. Any example of a CSU diploma that “contains the same font, seal, signatures and wording” as Tinubu’s diploma issued in June 1979.

Under subpoena, the Chicago State University has complied and released a few copies of diplomas the university issued in 1979 and subsequent years. 

A copy of a 1979 CSU diploma looks like this:

However, this is a copy of the diploma Tinubu submitted to INEC:

That said, Chicago State University did confirm that Tinubu attended the institution between 1977 and 1979. But they couldn’t provide an original certificate because the university doesn’t keep original copies of students’ diplomas.

One of the transcripts Tinubu used to apply to CSU is gendered female

Another fascinating item in the documents Tinubu submitted to INEC is a  certificate issued by Southwest College and presumably used by Tinubu to apply to Chicago State University. The bearer is a Tinubu Bola A., which checks out. But what’s odd is that this person’s gender is female. 

This begs a question: Is this Bola Tinubu also Ahmed, our President?  

What happens now?

It’s against the provisions of the Nigerian constitution to contest with a forged certificate 

Section 137 of the Constitution provides grounds for disqualification from the office of President of Nigeria. It’s a long list, but its position on submitting fake certificates is clear:

A person shall not be qualified for the office of the president if they present a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

With Atiku Abubakar still pursuing the case in court, one of the primary things he’ll want to prove is the veracity of Tinubu’s results — are they genuine or not?

In the end, the Supreme Court will decide on one of the following:

  1. If Tinubu did submit and run with fake certificates 
  2. If that is sufficient grounds for disqualification
  3. If an election rerun will be held or Tinubu’s runner-up will be declared the new president. 


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