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Court Admits President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s American University Documents and Embassy Clearance Letter for his Defense

Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Bola Ahmed Tinubu

By Uche Amunike

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Court has admitted, Tuesday, the academic records obtained from the Chicago State University in the United States of America, and which was tendered by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to counter a suit filed by Atiku Abubakar, challenging his victory as the President of Nigeria.

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission declared President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress (APC), winner of the presidential election held on February 25th. Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), was also declared second position in the election. He, however, disputed the election results and filed a petition before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal and urged them to overturn his victory on the grounds of alleged fraudulent academic and criminal records among other reasons that include electoral practices.

On 23rd June, he concluded his presentation for his case and paved the way for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC and INEC to commence their defense.

During the proceedings on Tuesday, Tinubu’s lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), submitted the documents that were to help his case. He submitted academic records from the Chicago State University from where President Bola Ahmed Tinubu graduated, as well as a letter from the United States Embassy in Nigeria which cleared him of any criminal conviction or arrest in the USA.

Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police, in 2003, Tafa Balogun, now dead, had written to the US Consulate general in Lagos, where he requested if Tinubu had any criminal records in the USA. This was because the Alliance for Democracy (AD) political party, on whose platform, Tinubu wanted to seek reelection as governor for the state, requested for that information.

Part of the letter dated February 3, 2003 and written by Mr. Balogun to the United States Consular General in Lagos state, partly read: ‘The screening committee of the Alliance for Democracy has written to the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, requesting confirmation of any criminal record of conviction to date against Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the United States of America.’

In reaction to the enquiry made by the Nigerian Police, the American Consulate in Lagos confirmed that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), National Crimes Information Centre (NCIC) did a background check on Bola Ahmed Tinubu and on February 4, 2003, a reply was sent by a legal attache at the United States Consulate, Michael H. Bonner, who stated thus: ‘The results of the checks were negative for any criminal arrest records, wants, or warrants for Bola Ahmed Tinubu.’

Note that the NCIC is a centralized Information Center that keeps the records of every criminal arrest made within the US and its territories. Mr. Olanipekun tendered the immigration documents of Tinubu’s trips to America between 2011 and 2021, in order to further debunk the allegations of fraud leveled against Mr. Tinubu, adding that the documents were certified by the Nigerian Immigration Service.

He further presented the final results of the presidential election that declared Tinubu the president-elect on March 1st and told the 5-member panel of the court, headed by Haruna Tsammani that a documentary foundation had been laid for Tinubu’s case, but that they would continue with the oral evidence by calling the witnesses on Wednesday.

Atiku’s counsel, Chris Uche (SAN), opposed the documents being admissible, while Tinubu’s Co-respondents, APC and INEC did not oppose that the documents be submitted.

The court adjourned hearing till Wednesday.

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