Chicago State University (CSU) has stated that the certificate submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by President Bola Tinubu did not emanate from the university.
Following over five hours grilling by lawyers to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, CSU’s Registrar Caleb Westberg also said that Tinubu neither applied for a replacement certificate nor received one.
He stated that such duplicate diplomas are currently sourced from third-party vendors, even as he insisted that Tinubu is the same person that graduated from CSU in 1979.
He also told the team of interrogators during a deposition ordered deposition that “The university does not typically keep Diplomas. I have the Diploma that was made available to Mr. Enahoro-Ebah in our possession because Mr. Tinubu did not pick it up.”
“We believe Bola Tinubu who attended CSU is the same person who is the president of Nigeria today”, Westberg said during the deposition done on Tuesday in the office of Atiku’s lawyer, Angela Liu, at West Wacker Drive in Chicago.
Five other lawyers from the firm Dechert LLP joined in the deposition. President Tinubu was represented by Victor P.Henderson and Oluwole Afolabi, who joined the session by zoom from New York.
Michael Hayes appeared for Chicago State University.
Pressed further by the battery of lawyers representing Atiku on why he believes the person who is the president of Nigeria is the same person who attended CSU, Westberg said Bola 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.
On the controversy over whether the student the school admitted in 1977 ffrom South West College was a man on woman, Westberg said Tinubu applied to the university as a male and a letter of admission was issued to a male.
On the certificates tendered in the documents given to Atiku, the registrar restated that the university only has Diplomas that students didn’t pick up in its possession.
“The university does not typically keep Diplomas.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.’
“Why would Mr. Tinubu request a Diploma and not pick it up or ask that it be sent to him?”, one of Atiku’s lawyers asked.
Westberg replied: “You would have to ask him, that is Bola Tinubu”.
Here are other things Westberg deposed to: “I’m not aware of any instance where CSU had been requested to certify a document.Mr. Wole Afolabi who was acting for President Tinubu insisted that the documents must be certified. Mr. Wole Afolabi is President Tinubu’s lawyer. Mr. Afolabi and Mr. Orr communicated by email.
“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. CSU had never certified documents for anyone before. It must have been made because there was more of a Nigerian thing.
“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.
“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.
“In the US, Diplomas are considered merely ceremonial documents. In some other countries, it may be considered more. In the US, more reliance is placed on transcripts and not on Diplomas.
“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 6 Registrars. I never spoke to Ms. Davies. Some policies have changed over the years. 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 called 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 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. The Bola Tinubu who attended CSU also 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 person who attended Southwest College is the person who attended CSU. 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 indications that we use to identify students. A Social Security is a unique identifier.
“I recognize 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. 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’
“We know Mr. Tinubu’s Social Security number. It’s contained in his records.
“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”.
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