Tinubu opens defence, present certificates at Tribunal

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Thursday opened his defence before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal(PEPT) by presenting his Chicago State University certificate and other credentials. The documents were admitted as exhibits by the Tribunal. 

Tinubu is defending his victory in the Presidential elections conducted on February 25, 2023. His victory is being challenged by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Abubakar Atiku.

This is not the first time the credentials of Tinubu will be challenged. The Lagos State House of Assembly gave him a clean bill of health in 2002 over the same allegations. In 2003, the late Engr Funsho Williams, the PDP governorship candidate in Lagos also challenged Tinubu’s re election as governor of Lagos State. In the petition filed by William’s lawyer, the late Chief Tunji Ayanlaja SAN, the petitioner also raised the issue of perjury and certificate but Tinubu also came out clean as the Tribunal dismissed Williams petition.

At the resumed hearing of the petition, the educational documents tendered to establish his attendance and graduation at the American university comprising the admission letter offered to Tinubu by the institution among others.

Through his lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, Tinubu tendered his Chicago State University credentials and his American visa documents to prove that he visited the United States unhindered between 2011 and 2021.

The President, who tendered the documents to debunk allegations of criminality contained in the petition against him, also made available to the court all documents of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) which cleared him for the US trips. Also admitted as an exhibit by the court is the US Embassy letter of April 4, 2003, which is a response to a letter from the Nigeria Police Force dated February 3, 2003, which claimed that the embassy had no criminal records of Tinubu in the US.

The documents were admitted despite objections against their admissibility by the PDP and former Vice President Abubakar. However, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) who are 1st and 3rd respondents in the petition did not object to the admission of all the documents.

Besides the educational records, the court further admitted an originating summons of a suit instituted at the Supreme Court by the Attorneys General of Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo And Sokoto states challenging the educational background of Tinubu to stand for the 2023 presidential election.

Having laid the documentary evidence to establish its case, lawyers to the President asked for an adjournment to enable them to call oral witnesses.

Earlier in the day, the electoral umpire closed its defence in the petition filed by the Labour Party after calling one witness at the Tribunal.

The witness, Lawrence Bayode, an ICT expert, admitted that some of the results downloaded from INEC’s portal were blurred, however, insisted under cross-examination that the results of the presidential election released by the commission are authentic.

But the lawyer to the Labour Party, Patrick Ikwueto disagreed, saying the results cannot be authentic when they are largely unreadable


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