Fact-Check: President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s CSU Diploma Controversy

Recently, allegations of forgery surrounding the diploma of Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have stirred a significant debate on social media. The controversy emerged following the release of his academic records by Chicago State University (CSU).

These allegations are the result of a legal challenge by one of his rivals, Atiku Abubakar, who sought to have Tinubu disqualified from the presidential election due to suspicions of a forged diploma. In this article, we will thoroughly fact-check the claims surrounding President Tinubu’s academic qualifications based on information obtained by the BBC’s Global Disinformation Team…..CONTINUE READING HERE

The Background:

In August, Atiku Abubakar filed a judicial case in the United States, requesting CSU to release President Tinubu‘s academic records through the process of discovery. The following information and claims have been examined in the course of this fact-check:

1. The Diplomas Issued by CSU:

– CSU submitted seven diplomas covering various disciplines, with students’ names redacted, and claimed they were uncollected by the students.

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2. Tinubu’s Original Diploma and the Replacement:

– President Tinubu mentioned that his original diploma, earned in 1979, was lost when he went into exile in the 1990s.
– He submitted a replacement diploma, similar to those issued by CSU in the 1990s.
– Another replacement diploma, likely from the early 2000s, remained uncollected by Tinubu.

3. Comparing Diplomas:
– Claims on social media revolved around a comparison between the diploma Tinubu submitted to Inec and those from 1979.
– The deposition of CSU’s current registrar, Caleb Westberg, was crucial in this analysis.

The Fact-Check:

Claim 1: Tinubu’s Diploma Was Forged
– The claim that President Tinubu’s diploma was forged is not supported by evidence.
– Caleb Westberg, CSU’s registrar, confirmed that the diploma submitted to Inec looks like three other diplomas CSU released to Atiku Abubakar.
– The discrepancy in appearance is due to the diploma being reissued in the 1990s when the template had changed.

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Claim 2: Missing Portion of Diploma
– A claim that a missing part of the university logo on Tinubu’s diploma was suspicious.
– Westberg explained it was possibly cut off during photocopying.

Claim 3: “With Honors” on Diploma
– A fact-checking organization alleged that Tinubu’s diploma did not include “with honors” under the degree name.
– The BBC found that this phrase was included in Mr. Tinubu’s diploma from the early 2000s, which was authenticated by Westberg. CSU confirmed that Mr. Tinubu graduated with honors.

Claim 4: Gender Discrepancy in Records
– Some social media claims suggested that Mr. Tinubu’s records showed a female student.
– Westberg clarified that the gender of the student who attended CSU as Bola A Tinubu was male. The university used other factors, including the Social Security Number (SSN), to verify the student’s identity.

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Claim 5: Birth Date Discrepancies
– Discrepancies were observed in Mr. Tinubu’s birth dates across documents.
– Westberg suggested that these discrepancies might be due to human error.

Conclusion:

The BBC’s Global Disinformation Team conducted a comprehensive fact-check of the allegations surrounding President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s diploma. The available evidence and statements from CSU’s registrar, Caleb Westberg, indicate that there is no conclusive proof of forgery regarding the diploma submitted to INEC. While some discrepancies in documents have been noted, they are not sufficient to confirm forgery. The authenticity of President Tinubu’s academic qualifications remains intact, and allegations to the contrary lack substantial evidence.

It’s important to note that the university has expressed confidence in the veracity and integrity of its records regarding Tinubu’s attendance and graduation. However, the broader debate and questions surrounding this issue may continue to be a topic of discussion in the political landscape…..CONTINUE READING HERE