CSU: Tinubu betrayed me, I'll fight till S'court verdict, Atiku says

CSU: Tinubu betrayed me, I’ll fight till S’court verdict, Atiku says

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CSU: Tinubu betrayed me, I'll fight till S'court verdict, Atiku says

By Sehubo Festus



Chicago State University; Tinubu betrayed me, I’ll fight till S’court verdict, Atiku says

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, made it clear on Thursday that he did not betray President Bola Tinubu in relation to the certificate forgery allegation he raised in court. Instead, he asserted that it was the former Lagos State governor who had abandoned him, as well as the Action Congress of Nigeria, and had thrown his support behind Umaru Yar’Adua of the PDP during the 2007 presidential election.

Atiku also recalled how he had prevented former President Olusegun Obasanjo from seizing control of Lagos State in the 2007 general elections, thus coming to Tinubu’s aid.

However, the All Progressives Congress criticized Atiku in response to his Thursday critique of Tinubu, stating that his poorly-timed press conference amounted to a blatant disregard for the Supreme Court.

The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, dismissed Atiku’s assertions, stating that the ruling party remained unperturbed by his claims. Morka characterized Atiku’s statements as lacking purpose and merely constituting “the pitiful repetition of falsehoods, unfounded distortions, and deliberate untruths regarding Atiku’s preoccupation with the president’s academic record.”

However, Atiku, the former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the February elections, affirmed his determination to continue his efforts to substantiate the allegations that Tinubu forged the Chicago State University certificate he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission prior to the polls.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, the former Vice President also called upon the presidential candidates of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso, to lend their support to his pursuit of justice.

He expressed deep concern, emphasizing that Nigeria’s reputation was on the line. He stressed the importance of upholding Nigeria’s election regulations and constitutional principles.

This press conference on Thursday marked the third occasion where Atiku addressed journalists since the Independent National Electoral Commission declared the APC’s Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election.

Notable figures in attendance at the global press conference included former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; former Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke; former National Chairmen of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus; and Senator Iyorchia Ayu, among others.

In addition to filing an election petition appeal with the Supreme Court to challenge the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, which affirmed Tinubu’s victory, the PDP’s presidential candidate had also sought access to the academic records of the President from Chicago State University to substantiate his allegation of forgery against the former Lagos State governor.

Magistrate Jeffrey Gilbert initially granted Atiku’s request on September 19 for the release of Tinubu’s academic records. However, the President contested this ruling, arguing that the documents would not be pertinent to Atiku’s appeal at the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, federal judge Nancy Maldonado overruled the objection and instructed Chicago State University (CSU) to provide the President’s academic records.

During the press conference, Atiku responded to questions from reporters, refuting reports that his actions amounted to a betrayal of the former Lagos State governor. He pointed out that Tinubu owed him gratitude for his role in preventing former President Olusegun Obasanjo from removing him as governor in 2007.

Atiku explained, “In 2007, we came together to establish the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and during the convention in Lagos, I emerged as the candidate and secured the ticket. After the convention, some of our friends, who are present here, approached me and informed me that Bola Tinubu wanted to be my running mate. So, I sought their opinion on the Muslim-Muslim ticket.”

All of them said they objected. So, I asked them why didn’t they tell him. So, that was the end of our political relationship; it broke away as he went ahead and supported Yar’adua. So where is the ground for him to say I betrayed him?’’

Speaking further, he added, “Those of you who are old enough will remember that in 2003 the PDP took over all the states in the South-West, with the exception of Lagos. I stood before Obasanjo and said no, you can’t take Lagos. And he left it. So, who is indebted to the other: Is it me or Tinubu? Tinubu is indebted to me.’’

The PDP presidential candidate, who lamented how former President Muhammadu Buhari allegedly dealt with some of his business entities, said he was not scared Tinubu would go after his business interest, adding “It has already been taken away from me since the Buhari administration. They took it and distributed it among themselves.”

Will Atiku withdraw?

Atiku, pledging to persist in his fight, assured that he would put aside his efforts once the Supreme Court had delivered its judgment on the matter.

Offering justification for his request for Tinubu’s Chicago State University (CSU) records, Atiku clarified, “We embarked on this journey with significant commitment and for significant reasons. It is imperative that we uphold the established principles for legitimate governance in our nation, and the reputation of our country is on the line. This has an impact on all Nigerians, wherever they may be.”

He further added, “I am deeply committed to democratic principles and I am a loyal citizen of my beloved country. The issues at the heart of this case call for a renewed dedication to our nation and our constitution.”

Atiku expressed his admiration for the late human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, who had inspired their pursuit. He noted that now, Chief Gani Fawehinmi could truly rest in peace, knowing that the path he initiated approximately 23 years ago had come to fruition.

“Gani’s vindication today gives credence to the saying that no matter how fast a lie runs, the truth will someday overtake it. This quest is not for or about Atiku Abubakar. It is a quest for the enthronement of truth, morality, and accountability in our public affairs.’’

Calling for mass support for his crusade, the PDP candidate said, ‘’In line with this, therefore, I am calling on all well-meaning Nigerians, leaders of thought, our religious leaders, our traditional leaders, our community leaders, our political leaders, and in particular, (ex) Governor Peter Obi of the Labour Party and (ex) Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of the NNPP and the leaders of every political party in Nigeria and, indeed, every single person who loves this country, as I do, and who wishes nothing but the best for the country, as I do, to join me in this campaign to enshrine probity, accountability and the basic principles of justice, morality, and uprightness in our country and our government.”

Atiku’s lawyer, Kalu Kalu alleged that the CSU confirmed that Tinubu forged the certificate he presented to INEC.

“Also, the qualifying certificates from Southwest College to Chicago bear a female indicating that the document does not belong to Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“The CSU admission has a claim that Bola Ahmed Tinubu attended government college, Lagos, and graduated in 1970 when indeed, the school was established in 1974. We were told by the CSU Registrar that the A in CSU stands for Adekunle, but the A in the certificate submitted by Bola Tinubu to INEC has the NYSC certificate as Adekunle,’’ he further claimed.

Kalu declared that the Supreme Court had held that they could permit a party to adduce fresh evidence as long as certain conditions were met, adding that “from what transpired in the proceedings in US courts, that condition is going to be met. So as we speak, our law is very clear that a party at fault cannot be allowed to enjoy the fruit of his illegality.”

Meanwhile, Atiku has reportedly filed fresh evidence obtained from the Chicago State University, United States to strengthen his appeal in the Supreme Court against Tinubu.

An authoritative insider with close ties to the former Vice President has exclusively revealed that Atiku has indeed submitted new evidence.

When asked by our correspondent about the situation, the source confirmed, saying, “Yes, we have submitted fresh evidence to the Supreme Court well within the specified deadline.”

Labour Party’s reaction

Meanwhile, the leadership of the Labour Party has advised Atiku to refrain from involving its presidential candidate, Obi, in his dispute with the President.

This response came in reaction to Atiku’s earlier call on Obi and Kwankwaso to join him in exposing what he alleged to be the President’s concealed secrets.

In a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the LP, Obiora Ifoh, on Thursday, the party clarified that its candidate should not be sidetracked, as he is currently focused on regaining his ‘stolen mandate’ through the Supreme Court.

The statement conveyed, “The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, is presently at the Supreme Court, seeking to reclaim the mandate that was allegedly taken from him, and he is fully dedicated to that cause.”

“He has consistently advocated for a just nation where justice is paramount, and he will persist until Nigeria achieves the leadership it genuinely deserves. Obi has openly emphasized the importance of leaders being exemplary and leading lives worth emulating.”

“In this regard, he has made his credentials accessible for public scrutiny. Nigeria will progress when individuals of integrity and honor are at the helm of the nation. Therefore, we welcome any other interest that wishes to join us in our pursuit of a nation where justice prevails.”

APC’s reaction

However, Morka dismissed Atiku’s accusations against the President as a manifestation of desperation and an attempt to generate public sympathy while exerting undue pressure on the Supreme Court.

He stated, “For several weeks now, Nigerians and the world have observed Alhaji Abubakar’s overt display of sheer desperation in his unsuccessful quest for the presidency of Nigeria.”

“Earlier today (Thursday),” Morka continued, “he elevated his desperation during his press conference where he addressed some of the issues related to his appeal at the Supreme Court, making unverified allegations against the President of Nigeria, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu. This appeared to be a deliberate effort to shamelessly stir public sentiment and exert excessive pressure on the Supreme Court.”

Morka expressed the belief that Atiku should have exercised greater discretion by refraining from making public comments on a matter that he had submitted to the court for judicial review.

He further noted, “The key takeaway from his event at the Yar’Adua Centre, particularly during the question-and-answer session, was Atiku’s deep-seated animosity toward Tinubu, whom he holds responsible for his electoral setbacks in 2007, 2015, 2019, and this year.”

Characterizing Atiku’s actions as unbecoming of a statesman of his stature, the APC spokesperson accused the PDP presidential candidate of employing his pursuit of Tinubu’s academic records as a tool for mischief and blackmail.

He asserted, “In a state of desperation that is unbecoming of a statesman who once held the second-highest office in the nation, the PDP candidate from the last election has discarded all principles of decency, decorum, dignity, and national respectability in his aimless legal expedition to the United States, searching for a magical solution to attaining power against the clearly expressed will of the Nigerian electorate in the February presidential election.”

The APC spokesperson further noted, “It should now be evident to all Nigerians that, despite Atiku’s false claims before the Illinois Court that he intended to use the information for his Supreme Court appeal, he has instead opted to employ it as a tool for mischief and blackmail, demonstrating blatant contempt for the highest court in the land.”

“We urge him,” he continued, “to gracefully accept his electoral defeat and quietly deal with his political setbacks with a measure of dignity. Nigerians rejected him at the polls, and he cannot achieve through subterfuge what he failed to attain through the ballot.”

Additionally, a former Director of Publicity and Media for the dissolved Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga, criticized the PDP candidate for his fixation on Tinubu’s potential presidency in the country.

Tinubu Associate

In urging the former Vice President to address his fervent desire for the presidency, the experienced journalist also characterized Atiku’s press conference as a challenge and a strategy aimed at stirring emotions against the Supreme Court.

He remarked, “The individual (Atiku) is clearly driven by desperation. He embarked on an exploratory mission, but what did he ultimately uncover? They appear to be fixated on their own interpretation of reality, which starkly contradicts the evidence presented to them.”

Meanwhile, Chicago State University has already unequivocally affirmed that this individual attended our institution, and there is no ambiguity about his gender – he is male. He successfully completed an entrance examination to gain admission to a college. It is the same individual, yet the PDP continues to cast doubts on his educational credentials.”

“The truth is plain to see. Did this individual attend CSU? Absolutely, he did. The PDP is merely introducing irrelevant issues into the discussion. Imagine Atiku talking about the President tarnishing Nigeria’s reputation. Who, if not Atiku Abubakar himself, has been more responsible for dragging the country through the mire?”

“In the United States, Atiku’s reputation for corruption is widely recognized. The U.S. Congress even released a ‘Case Report of Corruption,’ which included Atiku among four or five African leaders accused of embezzling money from Nigeria to the United States, resulting in asset seizures.”

“He was transferring funds from here to abroad. Tell me, who has been more responsible for sullying Nigeria’s image than this individual, who is clearly preoccupied because of his strong desire to be President and his loss to a political newcomer? Yet, he is unable to gracefully accept defeat.”

Continuing his remarks, Onanuga questioned the reasoning behind Atiku’s press conference, which he characterized as contemptuous of the court. He argued that Atiku should have patiently awaited the Supreme Court’s decision on his election petition appeal.

He added, “Furthermore, you have stated that you filed a case with the Supreme Court, so what is the purpose of this press conference? Are you attempting to exert undue pressure on the court, pre-empt its judgment, or incite sentiment against the apex court?”

“That press conference was entirely unwarranted because you have already initiated legal proceedings. Why not await the Supreme Court’s verdict? Why did you find it necessary to publicly reiterate what you have already presented in court?”

“This constitutes a flagrant act of contempt toward the highest court in the nation. He and his legal team should be well aware of this fact. The Supreme Court should consider taking action against them for discussing matters that are currently before the court. It is entirely unnecessary.”


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