President Bola Tinubu yesterday prayed the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago to permit the Chicago State University (CSU) to release only his certificate to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar but stop the school from disclosing all other details, especially the gender and admission records, among others, of the person who owns the document.
Recall that Atiku had, on August 2, 2023, filed a suit at the US court, demanding that the CSU release all of Tinubu’s academic records following some grey areas noticed in the documents he submitted to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)….CONTINUE READING HERE
Atiku suspected that the documents would help clarify what he believed are inconsistencies in Tinubu’s background.
He argued that among other things, a “second Chicago State University diploma dated June 27, 1979, that bears the name “Bola Ahmed Tinubu” has since emerged but also presents with a different font, punctuation, seal, and signatures, than that of the June 22, 1979 diploma, among other alleged discrepancies.”
Atiku told the 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 presidential election in February 2023 is genuine or was forged.”
In a statement dated August 23, issued by the university and signed by the university’s counsel, the university noted that once they get an order from the court, the academic records of Tinubu will be released. The university also pleaded with the court to be specific with the demands it seeks.
In response to Atiku’s application, CSU agreed to release Tinubu’s credentials once the court issues the order.
The university in a statement issued August 23 and signed by its counsel said it would release Tinubu’s academic records and pleaded with the court to be specific with the demands it seeks.
On Tuesday, September 19, Magistrate Jeffrey Gilbert issued an order instructing CSU to provide all relevant and non-privileged documents to the applicant within a two-day timeframe.
“This matter is before the court on 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 (“Application”) [ECF No. 1]. For the reasons discussed below, the application is granted,” Gilbert declared.
However, on Thursday, September 21, Tinubu’s counsel, Christopher Carmichael, submitted an urgent motion at the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
The motion entitled ‘Emergency motion to delay dispositive ruling number 23CV5099’ stated in part: “Intervenor asks this court to enter an immediate order delaying the effect of the magistrate’s order, at least until Monday, September 25, 2023, so the court may fully consider both the scope of the magistrate’s authority to issue the order without review and the issue of whether the magistrate’s order was a correct application of the law to the facts presented.’’
Tinubu cited the basis for his motion, noting that Atiku was challenging the outcome of the February 2023 Nigerian election.
Tinubu emphasised that Atiku initiated his legal action under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 on August 2, 2023, after withdrawing a similar case filed in an Illinois State Court on July 11, 2023.
He explained that the time constraints are a result of Atiku’s decision to seek information using Section 1782 six months after the election had concluded.
Arguing on the matter yesterday, Tinubu prayed the court to deny Atiku the request because the information sought cannot be used and, therefore, is not ‘for use’ in the foreign proceedings.
Carmichael said Atiku “is not seeking anything more than opposition research on a political opponent”, adding that the magistrate, “clearly erred in granting the application for discovery and concluding that CSU must respond to the document and deposition subpoenas.”
While stating that there was no presumption in favour of applications to conduct discovery under Section 1782, Tinubu urged the court to deny outright the application or narrowly limit it to “a handful of questions about the diploma submitted to INEC”.
He based his arguments on the grounds that the, “Discovery could not be for use in the foreign proceeding because the Nigerian election court held that it cannot be used and the only document at issue is the diploma.”
Besides, Tinubu submitted that the discovery was unduly intrusive to private and confidential educational records, which, by the United States laws, could not be released without Tinubu’s consent.
“The Magistrate erroneously concluded that a foray into ‘other educational documents’ was permissible because ‘Intervenor also submitted other educational documents in a related proceeding in Nigeria.
“There are three shortcomings with this conclusion. First, the Nigerian constitution and Electoral Act pertain to submissions to the INEC. There is no assertion that submission as a defence in a different and subsequent proceeding will cause disqualification.
“Second, the other submissions occurred in a ‘related proceeding,’ and Applicant justified the discovery here about the election challenge now proceeding before the Nigerian Supreme Court.
“Discovery about ‘other documents’ cannot be ‘for use’ in the election challenge proceeding.
“Third the catch-all category of ‘other documents’ is vague and is cover for a fishing expedition into protected, private, and confidential records.
“The Magistrate erred in requiring compliance with two subpoenas that go far beyond the narrow issue of the diploma submitted to the INEC, and finding that the education records protections were overcome by applicant’s investigatory interests,” he stated.
Why Atiku digs into Tinubu’s academic records – Obaseki
Reacting to the development, the director of research and documentation of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation, Dr. Don Pedro Obaseki said Atiku insisted upon the release of Tinubu’s academic records by the CSU in order to expose alleged identity fraud.
Obaseki who spoke during a zoom meeting hosted by a London-based psychologist, Prof Gold Emmanuel, said Tinubu was fighting to prevent disclosure of details of the documents which he admitted “would cause irreparable damage to his person.”
“Nigerians will be more demoralised that the owner of the certificate that President Tinubu is parading is a woman. We already know it as a fact, but we are seeking the release of the documents officially by CSU.”
“Even when the court of first instance and the appellate court have convicted someone to death and minutes before the Supreme Court give its final judgement and there arose a fresh and compelling facts and evidence, the apex court is bound to listen to the fresh facts before making its final judgement.
“It is an unwritten proviso that where there is a compelling factual facts other than what is already obtained in the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), that the Supreme Court will be bound to accept the new facts of law and rule on them,” he said.
PDP, Obedient supporters wasting their time – Onanuga
A stalwart of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr Bayo Onanuga said supporters of the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi and Atiku would achieve nothing in their opposition to Tinubu.
Onanuga was responding to a user, who posted two documents concerning the academic records of Tinubu on X.
“Supporters of Atiku and Peter Obi continue to chase shadows and waste time controverting President Tinubu’s attendance of Chicago State University. The unassailable truth is that he attended the university and graduated in 1979. As far back as 1999, I knew this to be the truth.
“I visited the university as the editor-in-chief of my paper and collected from the school’s registrar, the first attestation letter about Tinubu’s graduation.
“The document you gleefully posted on the right shows your confusion and malice. It speaks about University of Chicago and not CSU. Can you and your band please allow President Tinubu to breathe, to enable him face the serious business of governance?” he said….CONTINUE READING HERE