A prominent Nigerian academic based in the United States has criticized recent claims that President Bola Tinubu committed forgery in relation to a diploma from Chicago State University.
Professor Farooq Kperogi stated in an opinion article that allegations Tinubu forged his diploma expose the ignorance of the US education system among supporters of rival Atiku Abubakar.
“The major one is the idea that because Tinubu presented a certificate (called a “diploma” in America) to INEC that didn’t emanate from Chicago State University, whose registrar affirmed under oath that Tinubu graduated from there, he has committed forgery in the legal sense of the term. That thinking betrays ignorance of the American university system—and results from people using their limited Nigerian lenses to refract an American phenomenon that’s beyond their experiential reality.
“Certificates are not used as legal proof of graduation from any school in America and therefore can’t be forged in the legal sense of the term. Only transcripts can be used as legal documents to validate the genuineness of claims to have attended institutions, including secondary schools.
“Had Tinubu presented a counterfeit transcript to support his claim of graduating from CSU when he didn’t, or merely to claim a higher GPA than he actually earned even when he graduated from there, that would have been forgery in the legal sense of the term, which is understood to mean “Criminal falsification by making or altering an instrument with intent to defraud,” wrote Kperogi, who teaches at an American university.
Also, Kperogi rebutted claims by Atiku Abubakar’s lawyer Kalu Kalu that APC leader Bola Tinubu impersonated a Black American on a 1970s college application.
He said, “The second major misconception of America came from Atiku’s lawyer by the name of Kalu Kalu. He said at a news conference on October 5 that “the Chicago State University admission application form has a claim that… the owner of that document is a Black American, and the document Bola Ahmed Tinubu submitted to INEC, he denied having dual citizenship which means it doesn’t belong to him.”
“I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help myself from letting out a burst of deep, loud, hearty laughter when I read that. It’s pure hilarious ignorance! You see, America has an enduringly irresistible impulse to taxonomize humanity into discrete racial categories. Every official form here requests you to identify your race. The modern options are “White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.”
“In the mid-1970s when Tinubu applied to study at CSU, what is now “Black or African American” on official forms in America was simply
“Black American,” particularly in historically Black Universities like CSU.
“The US Census Bureau has historically defined “Black or African American” as “A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.”
“Black American” was the only category that closely applied to Tinubu, so he chose it because the form instructed him to “CHECK ONE BOX.” Checking the “Black American” box didn’t mean he called himself a Black American or that he impersonated a Black American. It only meant he identified HIS RACE as “Black American.” No more, no less.
“The other options in the form were barely decipherable, but I could pick out “American Indian or Alaska Native,” something that looks like “Spanish Surname American,” another that looks like “Eurasian American,” etc. Although the form gave the option for “Other (explain),” most Africans here typically choose Black American as the closest description of their race.”