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No, Chicago State University hasn’t deleted its 1979 yearbook to protect Nigerian president Bola Tinubu

IN SHORT: Bola Tinubu’s academic qualifications have been questioned in a US court. But a claim that a video proves Chicago State University has deleted a record of the Nigerian president’s graduating year from its website is false.

Has Chicago State University (CSU) in the US removed its 1976 yearbook from its website in an attempted cover-up meant to protect Nigerian president Bola Tinubu?

That’s the claim circulating on Facebook and social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) since late August 2023.

The claim is based on a 32-second video of a person scrolling a website of old CSU yearbooks. The books for graduating students from 1971 to 1980 are shown, with one exception. CSU’s 1979 yearbook is missing.

Tinubu was voted into power in Nigeria’s February 2023 election. But his credentials have been challenged in court by Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar, other presidential hopefuls.

Abubakar has claimed that Tinubu lied about his qualifications.

Tinubu says he graduated from CSU in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting.

Abubakar has asked a US federal court to compel CSU to release Tinubu’s academic record.

The video has been posted on Facebook and X with captions such as:

  • What happened to Chicago state university 1979 Yearbook? So no one graduated 1979 or why is 1979 not accessible on net? Why did Chicago state university wipeout 1979 Yearbook? @ChicagoState @atiku @peterobi @chude__ @PIDOMNIGERIA #AllEyesOnTheJudiciary
  • CHICAGO STATE UNIVERSITY AS AN ACCOMPLICE TO FRAUD: Bola said he graduated from CSU in 1979. Suddenly, the 1979 yearbook has disappeared from the CSU website. This means CSU is concealing a fraud so that they can partake in eating "THE FORBIDEN FRUIT." Well, Fraud is Time bound

The claim can also be seen here, here, here, here and here.

But has CSU really deleted its 1979 yearbook from its website?

TinubuChicago_False

Video from Ancestry.com, not Chicago State University

An online search reveals that the site scrolled in the video isn’t csu.edu, CSU’s website. It’s a page from Ancestry.com

Ancestry is a genealogical website that helps people connect to family and friends. It has no known connection with CSU.

Text at the top of the Ancestry page reads:

Curious about what your relatives who went to Chicago State University were like during their school years? Choose from the 9 yearbooks available for Chicago State University below to start exploring the extensive Yearbooks collection on Ancestry®.

To find a family member, enter information such as their First Name, Last Name, and where they lived into the U.S. School Yearbooks database – even a guess can help.

The video only shows this text briefly, and doesn’t show the Ancestry masthead at all. But it’s being posted with the assumption it’s the CSU website. Towards the end of the video, when the intro appears, the person quickly scrolls backwards.

Only a few CSU yearbooks are available on Ancestry. These have been uploaded by the site’s users, not the university.

A Wayback Machine archive of the Ancestry page reveals that it hasn’t been altered since at least July 2022, months before Nigeria’s presidential election and more than a year before Abubakar went to court.

And CSU doesn’t keep yearbooks on its website. So it couldn’t have deleted the yearbook for 1979, or any other year.

The video is misleading and the claim is false.

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