JUST IN; Release Tinubu’s academic record to Atiku – U.S Court orders Chicago State University
United States District Court in Illinois yesterday directed Chicago State University to release President Bola Tinubu’s academic records to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert directed the varsity to provide “all relevant and non-privileged documents” to Atiku within two days.
The order followed an August 2 application filed by the former vice president requesting for the academic documents of Tinubu from his alma mater.
They are: “True and correct copies of (1) an exemplar of a Chicago State University diploma issued to President Tinubu in 1979; (2) Intervenor’s diploma issued in 1979; (3) any exemplar of a Chicago State University diploma that “contains the same font, seal, signatures, and wording as contained in Exhibit C to the First Liu Declaration, which purports to be a CSU diploma issued to Mr. Tinubu on or about June 22, 1979;” and (4) the CSU documents that were certified and produced by Jamar Orr (an associate general counsel at CSU) as well as communications relating to these documents.”
But, acknowledging Tinubu’s lawyers’ argument against lifting their client’s privacy privilege, the judge clarified in his ruling that only “non-privileged documents” should be produced by the Chicago State University.
The varsity in its deposition before the court has consistently confirmed that Tinubu attended the school and graduated in 1979.
The U.S. court said: “For all of the reasons discussed above, Atiku Abubakar’s application, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 for an Order Directing Discovery from Chicago State University for Use in a Foreign Proceeding [ECF No. 1] is granted. Respondent CSU shall produce all relevant and non-privileged documents in response to Requests for Production.
Atiku had told the U.S. court that he wanted to authenticate the documents whether a “Chicago State University diploma in the name of Bola Ahmed Tinubu dated June 22, 1979, that was submitted to the INEC before the Nigerian presidential election in February 2023 is genuine or was forged.”
He told the court that he intended to present same at the Supreme Court in Nigeria as part of his appeal to quash Tinubu’s victory.
But one of Tinubu’s lawyers in Nigeria, Mr. Babatunde Ogala (SAN), described Atiku’s U.S. case as a waste of time and an exercise in futility.
The SAN explained that Tinubu’s academic records that showed that he performed excellently at the Chicago State University, were already in the public domain.
On September 16, the Chicago State University furnished the U.S. court with Tinubu’s academic records as an Accounting student at the Chicago State University
The transcript showed Tinubu recording As in many of the courses he took.
Ogala said: “There’s nothing new in the ruling. The academic records of Tinubu are in the public domain already. You can Google it and see.
“While in school, he was a brilliant student. The records available online contain his grades. The former Vice President lied to the U.S. court that he needed the records to prosecute his case in Nigeria.”
He noted that this was not part of Atiku’s case in his challenge to Tinubu’s presidential victory at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Nigeria.
On September 6, a five-member panel of the PEPC dismissed Atiku’s petition, challenging Tinubu’s election. It also dismissed that of the Labour Party (LP), its candidate at the February 25 poll, Peter Obi and that of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM)
The five-member court held that Atiku and Obi failed to prove the allegations of electoral fraud against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Tinubu.
Dissatisfied with the PEPC verdict, Atiku and Obi and their parties filed appeals at the Supreme Court.