*Challenges America to treat Nigeria as equal partner
By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, on Wednesday, called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to allow the Chicago State University to release his academic records to a court in Nigeria if he has nothing to hide.
He also challenged the American government and its institutions to cause Tinubu’s certificates in Chicago State university to be released to a court in Nigeria in the spirit of reciprocity and freedom of information obtainable in that country.
Frank who made this call in a statement in Abuja, also insisted that Tinubu, as a public servant ought not to seek to stop his academic records from being made public in a law Court.
Recall that Tinubu had filed a motion seeking to prevent a United States Federal Court from releasing his university academic records to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as requested by the latter.
He lamented that the United States is playing double standards where actions and requests that are taken seriously in their country becomes the reverse when it concerns an African country like Nigeria.
He said: “Barely two days after former Vice President ans Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) approached the State District Court for the Northern District of Illinois subpoenaed the Chicago State University to release the records of Tinubu, it is rather shocking that the President has countered the request by filling a counter motion to restrain the Court from releasing his academic records to the petitioner.
“What seems to be more worrisome is the idea that a sitting President who had sworn to uphold the integrity and sanctity of the Presidential office, would attempt to muzzle an independent judiciary of the United States through acts of coercion or frivolous motions unknown to the Justice department.
“However, it is noteworthy to reiterate that the Justice system of the United States isn’t one that is amenable to coercion, intimidation, subjugation or any other form of compromise as demonstrated clearly from recent events concerning the former President of the US (Donald Trump) who is being made to answer various charges concerning his conduct while in office.
“What are you hiding in the Chicago University? If you are proud of your credentials, tell the University you claimed to have attended to release your academic information to Nigeria as requested by Atiku.
“This is simply the right thing to do because when a subpoena has been issued, it’s meant to be honoured anywhere.
“For anybody who wants to lead Nigeria, you should be able to surrender yourself to Nigerians for scrutiny as that is the minimum standard expected and I’m aware Alh.Atiku is not doing anything extraordinary against the law.
“This is the very reason we believe the US court must throw out your (Tinubu’s) appeal and give your academic information to Nigeria.”
He added: “The US must not be seen to protect any high profile Nigerian or any Nigerian that is holding public office. That is their duty, to do the right thing the same way they are doing the right thing in America.
“Today, the world and everybody is watching how Trump is being treated and investigated from one court to another.
“Trump’s information is being released by the CIA and the FBI in America for people to see what he has done.
“So if they can do that in America to Trump who is a former president, then why is the United States today aiding and abetting criminality in Nigeria by refusing to release unclassified documents petmitted by its freedom of information law? Whatever is good for America must also good for Nigeria.”
According to him, “it is because of acts of complacency and deliberate connivance with individuals who have run fowl of the system and taken advantage of compromised individuals that Nigeria and indeed majority Africa countries are turning to China and Russia who are believed to be strict and non-compromising.
“The United States is playing politics with the destiny of Nigeria because of their interest, but if they are not careful they will
do untold damage to their image in Africa.
“The United States is losing its credibility in Nigeria and in Africa because of issues like this because when it has to do with Africans, they will know something is wrong, but because of their personal interests, they will underplay it the way it cannot be done in their own country,
“Is it not too much for Nigeria to demand from the authorities of the United States that we
need the academic credentials of our president that they know is illegally occupying the office? This is the same man that has been fingered in several criminal cases in America.
In America, can you do this to your taxpayers? When taxpayers in America demand for any information, including that of a sitting president, it will be provided because they know that a public officer in America, is answerable to the citizens.
“But why are they promoting and supporting public office holders in Nigeria like the incumbent president who’s unwilling to be answerable to the Nigerian people as if the interest of Tinubu is greater than the interest of Nigerian people?”
“Therefore, the argument in his motion that the records should not be released because they fall under a 1974 privacy law for American students has shown clearly that there’s more to the identity of the individual who’s currently the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all must be done by the US in ensuring that the real identity of the President is revealed with the demand for his academic credentials whilst in Illinois.
“We hold the US in good faith and will expect that everything concerning this matter is finally put to rest when the University is finally subpoenaed. We’re glad that a Federal judge has been assigned to the case, and we expect a full dispensation of justice under the US Justice system in this regard.”