A UNITED States Court has ordered the Chicago State University (CSU) to release the academic records of the Nigerian president Bola Tinubu.
Jeffrey Gilbert, the judge of the US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, gave the ruling on Tuesday, September 19.
According to the Court, the CSU should produce all relevant and non-privileged documents to Atiku Abubakar (Tinubu’s key opposition in Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election) within two days.
“This matter is before the court on Atiku Abubakar’s application pursuant to 28 USC § 1782 for an order directing discovery from Chicago State University for use in a foreign proceeding (“Application”) [ECF No. 1]. For the reasons discussed below, the application is granted,” the judge ruled.
Atiku Abubakar, who is Nigeria’s former Vice President and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election is the plaintiff in the matter. Abubakar is requesting the academic records of Tinubu at CSU through his lawyers in the US.
Abubakar, through his lawyer, Angela M. Liu, requests documents that include records of his enrollment and admittance to the university, dates of attendance, and any degrees, honours, and honours Tinubu may have received at the institution.
Abubakar informed the court that the subpoena was issued to investigate the accuracy and truth of Tinubu’s claims, adding that Tinubu is currently the president of Nigeria and is involved in numerous legal battles over his election and the validity of documents proving his enrollment at Chicago State University.
The legal team for Tinubu has argued that their client is unwilling to waive his right to privacy, and the court’s decision acknowledges this by referring to certain documents as “non-privileged.”
The university consistently attested to Tinubu’s attendance at the University and 1979 graduation in its deposition before the court.
The ICIR reported in August that the CSU responded to a request by Abubakar, seeking to release Tinubu’s academic records.
In its response, the CSU restated that Tinubu is the institution graduate.
In a document shared by the PDP on its official Twitter account on Thursday, August 24, the CSU said it needed to understand why Tinubu’s academic records could have any bearing on a 2023 election challenge in a foreign country.
However, it stated that Tinubu’s academic record would be made public whenever an order is issued by a court in the United States.
“Bola Tinubu, the President of Nigeria, graduated from the UniversityUniversity in 1979.
“The student records Abubakar seeks from the University via a documents subpoena (Doc.1-1) and the information Abubakar seeks the University to provide pursuant to a deposition subpoena (Dec. 1-2) concern Tinubu’s private educational records. But since Tinubu has intervened to oppose this discovery, the university defers to Tinubu on the privacy issues implicated by Abubakar’s application,” the statement reads.
The university said it struggled to understand how Tinubu’s grades and other student records from the 1970s till date and subsequently issued ceremonial diplomas could have any bearing on a 2023 election challenge in a foreign country.
The university admitted that it was not familiar with the issues in the Nigerian proceeding or the evidentiary and other legal principles applicable therein.
Accordingly, the CSU said it deferred to Tinubu, who is involved in that foreign proceeding, to move objections to the Abubakar’s application.
On Tuesday, Abubakar approached the Supreme Court to nullify the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) judgement of September 6 that affirmed Tinubu’s election.
In the notice of appeal based on 35 grounds, Abubakar argued that the tribunal’s findings and judgement in the suit contesting Tinubu’s election as president by INEC had significant errors and had been unfairly rendered by Justice Haruna Tsammani.
The notice of appeal filed by Abubakar’s lead counsel, Chris Uche Atiku, requested that the Supreme Court overturn all of the tribunal’s findings and judgements because they did not accurately reflect the reasons for his client’s petition.