Reno Omokri, a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and former aide to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, has insisted that the controversy surrounding President Bola Tinubu’s certificate from Chicago State University will be laid to rest when the Supreme Court upholds the president’s election, contrary to the submissions of the PDP and other appellants.
Omokri stated that he had told PDP members not to consider challenging Tinubu’s US certificate because, according to his findings, the president graduated from the school in question.
Omokri, a lawyer, made the assertion via his Facebook page amid the allegation by the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, who claimed during a press conference on Thursday that Tinubu forged the Chicago State University certificate he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during his filing for the 2023 election.
Atiku had personally applied for Tinubu’s academic records, which he said would aid his petition at the Supreme Court.
At the Presidential Election Petition Court, Atiku’s legal team had tendered Tinubu’s University records through a Nigerian lawyer calling for the president’s sacking but the PEPC dismissed it for lacking in merit.
But today, Atiku told the world that Tinubu allegedly lied about obtaining the certificate from CSU.
However, Omokri, who vigorously campaigned for Atiku during the February 25 presidential election, apparently holds a contrary view to Atiku and his party’s latest legal battle against Tinubu.
For him, despite the dust being raised about Tinubu attending CSU, “this Chicago controversy was settled the minute that their registrar, Mr. Caleb Westberg, testified under oath that the same person who is now President of Nigeria is the same person who graduated from Chicago State University.”
Omokri believes that the Supreme Court will admit the school’s testimony under oath above public opinion any day.
“Before September 19, 2022, I believed all these websites and gossip saying that Bola Tinubu did not attend or graduate from Chicago State University. On September 19, 2022, I physically went there and established beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bola Tinubu, the male currently President of Nigeria, was admitted, attended, and graduated from Chicago State University. None of those now making insinuations in the media went there on a fact-finding mission. I did,” Omokri wrote.
“Privately, I told members of my party not to pursue this line of defence and instead focus on the white heroin conviction. I will not be moved or intimidated by the crowd. I stand by the truth.”
Omokri maintained that there may be inconsistencies in one’s academic certificates or record, but graduation validates the certificate, not vice versa.
“This is just déjà vu all over again. Is it that we never learn? The same thing happened with General Buhari. His certificates were lost while he was in detention. He presented a replacement GCE certificate that was full of errors. Yet, no court removed him. Why? Because it is the reality of the graduation that validates the certificate. It is not the certificate that validates the graduation,” Omokri wrote.
“It is just like marriage. Your church wedding is just a formality. You got married the day your union was registered at the registry. The document they gave you in the church is only ceremonial.”
Omokri contended that all Tinubu’s lawyers have to prove to the apex court is that Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a male and the same person currently occupying the office of the Presidency of Nigeria, graduated from Chicago State University, relying on the testimony of the school’s registrar, among other things.
He added, “Once they prove that, it legitimises whatever certificate he tendered to prove that point.”