Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the 2023 elections has reportedly refused to release his academic records.
Recall that the former Vice President sent his lawyers to the United States to legally force Chicago State University (CSU) to release the academic records of President Bola Tinubu.
Atiku had accused Tinubu of forgery of a certificate from an American university. Atiku had questioned the copy. of the CSU certificate Tinubu presented to INEC as evidence of his educational qualification to run for president.
Arguing that he needed the documents to strengthen his case at the Supreme Court after the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) dismissed his petition against the election of the president, Atiku persuaded the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to order CSU to release to his representatives the academic records of Tinubu, who claimed to have graduated from the university with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
On 19 September, Jeffrey Gilbert, a US magistrate judge, granted the request and ordered CSU to release the records within 24 hours.
Although Tinubu filed an appeal against the order, a judge, Nancy Maldonado, dismissed the objection, concurring that Atiku had the right to access the records.
According to Premium Times, it requested the former vice president through a letter dated October 3, 2023, to provide copies of the academic certificates he obtained from primary school up to the university.
The news platform also said Atiku should provide his Master’s degree certificate, as claimed in his filing to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) when he ran in the 2019 and 2023 presidential elections.
Seven weeks after the letter was sent and without a response from the former vice president, the news platform said it sent him a reminder dated November 13 and sent copies of both the original letter and the reminder to Atiku’s residence in the highbrow Asokoro area and to his media office at the Central Business District, both in Abuja.
It said the reminder and the letter were received and acknowledged, adding that Atiku’s spokesperson, Paul Ibe, promised to ensure a prompt response to the request.
Yet, Atiku did not reply to the letter or make the requested information available to the public through other channels.
In the letter, Premium Times wrote: “We respectfully congratulate Your Excellency on your success in obtaining the academic records of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu from the Chicago State University after a valiant legal battle at the United States District Court, Northern Illinois.
“Your stated reason for the pursuit of the documents is to support your challenge of the authenticity of the certificate presented by President Tinubu to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 25 February 2023 presidential election.
“We also see it as a patriotic endeavour to set high ethical standards for Nigerian public figures, in particular those seeking high public offices, and to promote the noble principles of transparency and honesty in the conduct of public affairs in our country.
“We find it especially commendable that you have chosen to do this through the judicial route, thus again cementing your reputation as a democrat and an adherent to due process.
“It is in the same interest of transparency that we hereby respectfully request your own academic records.
“Making the records available to us will demonstrate that you did not demand from your opponent what you are not willing to give.
“Sir, what we seek from you are your admission records, transcripts and certificates from all the academic institutions that you attended at home and abroad, including for the award of a Master’s degree.
“To raise even higher the bar of transparency and moral exemplariness, Your Excellency may wish to add your employment and business records as well.”