Atiku Refuses to Release Academic Records After Demanding Transparency from Tinubu
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has refused to provide copies of his academic records despite previously spearheading a legal battle to obtain the academic records of President Bola Tinubu.
Recall that Atiku, in October 2023, successfully compelled Chicago State University (CSU) in the United States to release President Tinubu’s academic records, which he claimed were forged. He argued that this transparency was necessary to ensure ethical standards in Nigerian public service.
Politics Nigeria gathered that a formal request was submitted to Atiku by Premium Times Newspaper on October 3, 2023, asking for copies of his academic certificates from primary school to university level, including his Master’s degree certificate. This request was followed by a reminder on November 14, 2023, after receiving no response.
Despite the acknowledgement of both letters by Atiku’s residence and media office and promises of a prompt response from his spokesperson, Mr. Paul Ibe, Atiku has yet to provide the requested information.
In the initial letter, Premium Times commended Atiku’s pursuit of President Tinubu’s records and stated their belief that “transparency and honesty” are crucial for public officials. They further argued that by providing his own records, Atiku could demonstrate his commitment to these same principles.
The newspaper 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.”
While Atiku’s early life and education are partially documented, gaps remain. Sources indicate he attended Jada Primary School and Adamawa Provincial Secondary School, where he obtained a grade three in his West African Senior School Certificate Examination. He also reportedly attended the Nigeria Police College, the School of Hygiene in Kano, and the Ahmadu Bello University Institute of Administration.
However, controversy has surrounded his academic records, particularly the West African Examination Council (WAEC) certificate issued to “Siddiq Abubakar.” His spokesperson clarified that Atiku sat for the exam as “Sadiq” and later swore an affidavit confirming “Sadiq” and “Atiku” are the same person.
Despite this explanation, Atiku’s refusal to provide his complete academic records contrasts sharply with his prior demands for transparency from President Tinubu.
Atiku had accused his rival in the 2023 presidential election, Mr Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), of forgery of a certificate from CSU. Atiku had questioned the copy of the Chicago State University (CSU) certificate Mr Tinubu presented to INEC as evidence of his educational qualification to run for the highest political office in Nigeria.
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 Mr Tinubu, arguing that it was needed to strengthen his case at the court against Tinubu’s election victory.
However, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in its judgement on 26 October in which it entirely dismissed Atiku’s appeal, refused to admit the documents from the US in evidence on the ground that Atiku did not plead the allegation of forgery in his petition to the election tribunal.