Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, the first runner-up in the February 25 presidential poll, says it is impossible for Elnora Daniel and Niva Lubin to have signed Bola Tinubu’s 1979 Chicago State University (CSU) certificate given that they began working in the institution in 1998 and 1996, respectively.
As the battle for the release of Mr Tinubu’s CSU records rages, Mr Abubakar on Wednesday told the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Illinois that he does not understand how Mr Tinubu’s certificate submitted to Nigeria’s electoral, INEC, bore the signatures of two CSU staff who joined the institution nearly two decades after the president graduated.
Mr Abubakar, the applicant for an order directing discovery of Mr Tinubu’s records, said there were glaring inconsistencies between the certificate Mr Tinubu tendered to INEC dated June 22, 1979, and the one CSU gave Nigerian lawyer Mike Enahoro-Ebah in response to a previous subpoena, dated June 27, 1979.
“The June 22 diploma has a different font and seal and does not have the grammatical error in the June 27 diploma. Instead of three signatures, it has only two. It also purports to be signed by Dr. Daniel as President of CSU—who did not begin working at CSU until 1998.
“The second signature purports to be that of Dr Niva Lubin as Chair of the Board. But like Dr Daniel, Dr Lubin did not begin working at CSU until the late 1990s,” Angela Liu, counsel for Mr Abubakar, wrote to the court on Wednesday.
The former CSU board chair’s legal name is Niva Lubin-Johnson, which is how it is written on all her public records. How her name was spelt as Niva Lubin alone on the certificate purportedly issued to Mr Tinubu could not be understood, further fuelling the suspicions of forgery.
Checks showed that Ms Lubin-Johnson joined the CSU board in 1996 and left after serving two terms in 2002.
Both women (Mses Daniel and Lubin) whose names appeared on Mr Tinubu’s diploma joined CSU long after Mr Tinubu graduated and long before CSU said the incumbent president and board chair usually signed the certificates at the time of request, Mr Abubakar’s lawyer noted.
“The June 22 diploma has indicia of forgery,” asserted Ms Liu. “Although it appears to be signed by three CSU officials, two of the signatures are illegible, and the third purports to be that of Dr. Elnora D. Daniel as President of CSU—even though she did not join CSU until 1998. ECF 5, Ex. F. It also contains a clear grammatical error. ECF 5, Ex. C.”
“Although intervenor submitted an affidavit to this Court from Westberg asserting that ‘all diplomas are signed by the current President/Board Chair’, ECF 21-1 at ¶ 4, both Dr Daniel and Dr Lubin had left CSU by, 2008 and 2001, respectively,” Ms Liu pointed out.
Mr Tinubu successfully begged Judge Nancy Maldonado to delay the release of his school records to his main challenger in the presidential polls as previously ordered by Judge Jeffrey Gilbert of the U.S. federal court, pleading severe and irreparable damage to his life, in a last-ditch effort to stop the order from being enforced.
Mr Abubakar wants to use the document at the Supreme Court of Nigeria in his quest to prove Mr Tinubu committed perjury and is therefore ineligible to serve as the nation’s president.