The Chicago State University (CSU) has confirmed that President Bola Tinubu attended the school.
The university disclosed this in a statement issued to CBS News, a division of the American television and radio service CBS, on Thursday.
It, however, added that it is prevented by federal law “from providing any further information without consent or unless allowed to do so via court order”.
Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 presidential election, had alleged that Tinubu’s academic records showing he graduated from Chicago State University were not authentic, arguing that it is grounds to nullify Tinubu’s election victory in the election.
Tinubu submitted the diploma certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Atiku is pushing for Tinubu’s election to be nullified over allegations that he submitted fake records to the electoral body.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois earlier this week adjourned ruling on a subpoena application for Tinubu’s records from the university.
The adjournment came on Tuesday after the CSU said it was not in a position to confirm the certificate Tinubu submitted to Nigeria’s electoral body to run for office.
According to the report, before Judge Jeffrey Gilbert in Chicago, CSU lawyer Michael Hayes categorically stated that the school was not in a position to authenticate Tinubu’s certificate submitted to INEC as either fake or genuine.
“Is the diploma authentic or is it a forgery? My client can’t answer yes to either of those questions,” Hayes said at the hearing in Chicago that began at about 1:30 pm and lasted several hours in the lawsuit brought by Atiku Abubakar, Tinubu’s main challenger during the February 25 presidential election.
Hayes was responding to the judge’s inquiry into the school’s ability to confirm under oath that Tinubu was issued the certificate he tendered to Nigeria’s electoral office as part of his final eligibility paperwork in June 2022.
However, in its statement, the school confirmed that Tinubu attended CSU and graduated in 1979. It also referred to him as a former student.
It said, “As an educational institution, we are sometimes asked to provide information related to student records. Federal law known as FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) protects the privacy of student records and limits what an institution can release.
“In August 2023, a request was made in U.S. federal court for the university to provide information related to educational records concerning Bola Tinubu, the President of Nigeria, and a former CSU student. The university has confirmed Tinubu attended CSU and graduated in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree. Federal law, however, prevents us from providing any further information without consent or unless allowed to do so via court order.
“CSU is confident in the veracity and integrity of our records regarding Tinubu’s completion of graduation requirements and degree certificate. The university is not a party to the Nigerian legal proceedings that spurred this request, and a U.S. federal judge will determine whether the university will provide further requested information.
“Our response to the request for Tinubu’s academic records has been entirely consistent with our practices, policies and federal law. We would respond in exactly the same manner for any request for any student information by a third party.”