The legal battle between President Bola Tinubu and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar regarding Tinubu’s academic records from Chicago State University has taken an intriguing turn. Olajide Adeniji, who claims to be a classmate of the former Lagos Governor, has testified under oath in a United States district court that he knows Tinubu and that they contested against each other in the race for the presidency of the Accounting Society Club at the Department of Business Administration/Accounting in the same institution.
This development comes just two weeks after another individual, public affairs analyst Durojaiye Ogunsanya, asserted that he was a coursemate of President Tinubu at Chicago State University. Ogunsanya stated during an appearance on TVC’s ‘This Morning’ show that they both graduated from the Department of Accounting and Business Administration in 1979.
In the affidavit sworn on September 23 at the Northern District of Illinois Court in Chicago, Adeniji affirmed that he had personal knowledge of the facts and could competently testify if called upon to do so. He attested to attending Chicago State University from 1977 to 1979, graduating with a degree in Business Administration/Accounting in 1979, and being familiar with Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is now the President of Nigeria. Adeniji claimed that he and Tinubu were in the same course of study and even contested against each other for leadership in the Accounting Society Club of the Department of Business Administration/Accounting.
The affidavit stated, “Pursuant to 28 U.S.C 1746, I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.”
Atiku Abubakar had previously secured an application for Chicago State University to release Tinubu’s academic records to his legal team. Acting on this application, Magistrate Jeffrey Gilbert ordered Tinubu’s alma mater to provide all relevant and non-privileged documents to Atiku’s legal team within two days. The documents sought by Atiku’s legal team included Tinubu’s record of admission and acceptance, dates of attendance, degrees, awards, and honors attained at the university, among other records.
In response, President Tinubu requested US District Judge Nancy Maldonado to order Chicago State University to protect his privileged information, such as admission records and transcripts, and only release his certificate to Atiku Abubakar’s legal team. This motion was filed by Tinubu’s lawyer, Christopher Carmichael, who argued that the critical fact had already been established by the university.
The ongoing legal dispute between the two political figures stems from Atiku’s challenge to Tinubu’s victory in the 2023 presidential election and the subsequent affirmation of Tinubu’s victory by an election petition court in Nigeria. The case revolves around the authenticity and availability of Tinubu’s academic records, which Atiku’s legal team has sought to obtain as part of their challenge.