Ex-VP Chasing Shadows, Says President’s Chicago Lawyer

Mr Wole Afolabi, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Chicago-based lawyer said last night that all the claims by Atiku Abubakar on Chicago State University (CSU)’s documents on the President as obtained, were false.

He also said the former Vice President his on a wild goose chase, if he took the documents to the Supreme Court.

Speaking from his base on Television Continental (TVC), he said: “The wrong information was planted out there that President Bola Tinubu did not attend Chicago State University and someone sold that to Waziri Atiku Abubakar and on that premise, he approached, through his lawyers, the High Court in Chicago asking that its record be released to him that he had it on good authority that he (Tinubu) did not attend university.

“The Chicago State University (CSU) through its Registrar, deposed to an affidavit wherein it was stated that not only did the President attend CSU, but he in fact graduated with honours in very rigorous majors, accounting, he was one of their best students. No wonder, he was hired directly out of college.

“So, confronted with this information and being reluctant to beat a retreat they pivoted and went in the direction that the certificates that he (Tinubu) presented to INEC was forged.

“Now, the university came out and said that this is their characteristics. (For diplomas) what is important to them and to many universities is in America is transcripts.


“It is in the transcript that you see the grades, the courses that he took and everything related to the students, all you need to know about the students basically. But the diploma is merely ceremonial.

“So, the university said the practice is that once you give it out (Diplomas) they don’t retain copies, so haven’t given out the version that the president submitted to INEC they did not have it in their possession.


“Now, at some point the president requested for a replacement diploma as some students do. It was prepared but the president did not go back to pick it up it was asked of the registrar why he did not pick it up or ask that it be sent to him and he correctly answered that ‘Why don’t you ask him?, I’m not in a position to answer to that.’”

Afolabi said Atiku’s camp failed to realise that “in America, it is not just one diploma that is issued for all purposes. You can have as many diplomas as you want if you want to apply for it or you have to do is to pay for it.

“Like in the president’s case, there were other students who applied for the diplomas and didn’t pick them up. And this is school made available to Waziri Abubakar’s lawyers for comparison. Social media is awash with all of these documents.

“If you take a look at what was issued to the President and some of the samples that the university filed you’ll see similarities they are very similar. Honestly to me with all sense of responsibility to me honestly this is not it just doesn’t make any sense.

Afolabi also explained the use in court of the phrase “irreparable harm” in defence of Tinubu’s opposition to the release of his academic records.

He said there was nothing sinister or unusual about it, rather, it is a legalese.

But explaining what he meant, Afolabi said: “That was a lawyer’s language, that’s legalese. Any lawyer that you speak to who is a practitioner will tell you that when you approach the court of law to get an interlocutory relief that is after someone gets a judgement rule against you want to appeal you can go to the court and say you want a stay of execution, meaning don’t do that thing before this appeal or this review as in this case is done.

“It is actually one of the things you have to satisfy the court is that you have to tell the court that look your honour if you go ahead and allow this document to be released now irreparable harm would have been done. What does that mean in everyday language? It means that once the genie is out of the bottle, you can’t put it back.

“Now, we contested based on FERPA laws – Federal Educational Rights Privacy Act – a student is entitled to protection, that a student’s records are entitled to protection, that was what we maintained. I have three kids here, one has graduated college and two are still in college; I don’t have access to their records. I can’t go to their registrar and say hey, I’m paying their tuition, turn these things over to me.

“So, we maintained that under FERPA, the President is entitled to privacy to his records, unless he elects to release them. So, the magistrate judge Gilbert, having ordered that the documents be released within 48 hours, was just a few hours away from reaching the time frame. So we went to Judge MacDonald and said ‘your honour, put a stop to the execution of this order, because if you don’t and these records are released, then they’ll be nothing for you to review anymore.

“That was all that we meant by that. Not irreparable harm by being shot or been killed. No. It’s a legal term. If you’re asking for a stay, you have to demonstrate that if this order is not granted, there’ll be nothing for you to review and the judge listened to us and granted that order. The judge agreed with us.”

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