Thursday, July 25, 2024

Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu, Faces Allegations of Diploma Forgery

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By: Seringe ST Touray

Nigeria’s opposition party declared on Thursday its intent to present fresh evidence supporting its legal challenge to overturn the recent presidential election. According to first runner-up Atiku Abubakar and his legal counsel, President Bola Tinubu allegedly submitted forged academic credentials from an American university to the election commission before the February vote. Abubakar claimed that Tinubu’s purported diploma should disqualify him from office.

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The opposition cited records obtained from the U.S. court, revealing discrepancies in Tinubu’s academic history. Abubakar had previously contested the election commission’s failure to adhere to due process and raised concerns about Tinubu’s eligibility, including allegations of dual citizenship and a criminal indictment in the United States, all of which Tinubu has refuted.

While Tinubu’s spokesperson denied the new allegation, stressing that a person couldn’t forge the academic records they legitimately possess, Abubakar’s legal team expressed confidence in presenting “fresh evidence” in the ongoing case before Nigeria’s Supreme Court.

The challenge holds significance for many Nigerians, given the contentious nature of the election where Tinubu secured victory with less than 50% of the votes, an unprecedented occurrence in Nigeria’s history.

Abubakar is among three candidates pursuing legal action to annul Tinubu’s election win. The opposition recently secured a court order from the U.S. District Court directing the release of Tinubu’s academic records from Chicago State University. The university’s registrar, Caleb Westberg, confirmed having the original record but couldn’t verify the authenticity of the diploma presented to the election commission. This development adds a layer of complexity to the case.

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Notably, this accusation of forgery is not the first in Nigerian political history, with Tinubu’s predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, also facing similar allegations in the past, though they were never substantiated. The unfolding legal battle underscores the heightened scrutiny surrounding the validity of Nigeria’s presidential elections.

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