The United States District Court in Northern Illinois has ordered Chicago State University (CSU) to release the academic records of President Bola Tinubu to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
The court ruling, delivered by presiding judge Nancy Maldonado, dismissed President Tinubu’s objections and set a deadline for the release of the requested documents.
Atiku Abubakar, who ran for the presidency under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had approached the U.S. District Court seeking access to President Tinubu’s academic records, which he believes are essential to his legal challenge of the February 25 presidential election results in Nigeria.
Judge Maldonado upheld the previous ruling of United States Magistrate Judge Jeffery Gilbert, which had ordered CSU to provide the academic records as requested by Atiku Abubakar.
The court firmly emphasised that Atiku had the right to access these records, which are considered crucial in his argument that President Tinubu had allegedly forged a certificate from CSU in 1979, which he then submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria.
The court ruling stated, “The Court overrules President Tinubu’s objections and adopts Judge Gilbert’s recommended decision in full. The Court, therefore, grants Mr. Abubakar’s application under 28 U.S.C. § 1782.”
Furthermore, the court specified a strict timeline for CSU to comply with the order. CSU is required to produce all relevant and non-privileged documents in response to Atiku Abubakar’s subpoena by 12:00 p.m. CDT on Monday, October 2, 2023.
Additionally, a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition of CSU’s corporate designee must be completed by 5:00 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, October 3, 2023.
This court order could have significant implications for the ongoing legal battle surrounding the Nigerian presidential election results.
President Tinubu’s academic records, once released, will be closely scrutinised by both parties involved in the case.
The release of these records will likely provide further insight into the allegations of certificate forgery and could potentially impact the outcome of the legal challenge initiated by Atiku Abubakar.
As the legal proceedings unfold, the public will be closely watching this development with great interest.