Chicago State University (CSU) has explained why it cannot authenticate the certificate of President Bola Tinubu.
The university, however, confirmed that President Tinubu graduated from the institution with a bachelor’s degree in 1979.
The university disclosed this in a statement issued to CBS News, one of America’s biggest and most influential news network, on Thursday.
CSU pointed out that United States’ federal law, prevents it us from providing any further information about Tinubu’s record, without consent or unless allowed to do so via court order.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, had alleged that documents showing that Tinubu graduated from Chicago State in 1979, were not authentic, and had highlighted it as grounds to nullify Tinubu’s election victory.
The certificate was issued in 1979, and signed by university President Elnora Daniel. But Daniel didn’t arrive at CSU until 1998 and left about ten years later. Submitting false records to the National Election Commission before the vote should nullify the election, Atiku had claimed.
At a hearing in Chicago this week, Atiku’s lawyers asked a federal judge to compel the CSU officials to turn over Tinubu’s academic documents and appear for depositions.
Judge Jeffrey Gilbert of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois did not rule on the request.
CSU’s lawyer, Michael Hayes, told Gilbert that the university wouldn’t be able to certify Tinubu’s diploma under oath.
A CSU spokeswoman said the university could confirm the president graduated.
“However, CSU cannot authenticate the diploma because it was a ceremonial document and not part of a student’s official academic file,” the spokesperson said according to ThisDay.
Earlier this month, the Presidential Election Petition Court dismissed Atiku’s claim against Tinubu’s February 25 election.
Atiku has, however, vowed to fight for the president’s academic results in Chicago.
But in the statement CSU issued to CBS yesterday, the university explained: “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 to the 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,” CSU added.