President Bola Tinubu’s attempt to prevent Chicago State University from disclosing his academic records to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has been unsuccessful.
This outcome follows a United States Judge, Nancy Maldonado, endorsing all the rulings made by Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. These rulings mandated the immediate release of Tinubu’s academic records by CSU.
Tinubu had opposed Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert’s order, citing potential harm to him, claiming that the documents were private and inadmissible in the ongoing Nigerian petition against him.
Atiku, who ran for the presidency on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform in the February 25 election, has been pursuing Tinubu’s academic records to support his assertion that Tinubu submitted a counterfeit certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). In her Saturday ruling, Judge Maldonado affirmed the earlier decision of the lower federal magistrate judge from September 19 in its entirety.
“The Court overrules President Tinubu’s objections to Magistrate Judge Gilbert’s recommended ruling, and therefore adopts the ruling in full. Mr Abubakar’s application is therefore granted,” the judge ruled.
The Judge additionally ordered CSU to release the documents by noon on Monday and requested that the deposition of CSU officials be finalized by 5pm CDT on Tuesday.
“In light of the pending Supreme Court of Nigeria deadline, represented to the court as October 5, 2023, and based on CSU’s representations that it is ready to comply with the discovery requests and produce a witness, the court sets an expedited schedule for completion of discovery,” the judge said.
Maldonado cautioned that any effort by Tinubu to appeal the ruling within the district would not be permitted anymore, as Abubakar is required to transmit the gathered evidence to Nigeria’s Supreme Court for use in an ongoing election petition case by October 5.
The judge did, however, state that Tinubu is welcome to file his appeal directly with the Seventh Circuit, an appellate court responsible for overseeing Illinois and neighboring states.
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