The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has granted the request of Atiku Abubakar, former Nigerian Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), seeking the release of President Bola Tinubu’s academic records from Chicago State University (CSU).
A memorandum signed by Jeffrey Gilbert, US magistrate judge, reads: “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”.
In August, the university had said it will release the academic records of Tinubu if a US court grants the order.
The university asked the court to direct “only limited and targeted discovery” of the information sought by Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election.
Atiku had approached the court for an order compelling CSU to release the records.
Tinubu’s credentials show that he graduated from CSU in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting and management.
However, there have been allegations bordering on discrepancies with Tinubu’s certificate.
In the suit filed before the US district court, Abubakar prayed that the court should subpoena Tinubu’s files domiciled with CSU.
Abubakar said the files will settle the controversy surrounding Tinubu’s academic background.
The president, through his counsel, had filed a counter application opposing the request for the release of his academic records.
The US court had also ruled that it has the jurisdiction to entertain the suit filed by the former vice-president.
‘IT IS SO ORDERED’
In the memorandum granting the request, the court said “the first intel factor weighs in favor of granting the application”.
“The first discretionary factor looks to whether the person from whom discovery is sought is a participant in the foreign proceedings,” the statement reads.
“Intel, 542 U.S. at 264. The parties agree that CSU is not a party in the Nigerian proceedings and is beyond the jurisdictional reach of the Nigerian courts.
“Accordingly, the court finds that factor one weighs in favor of granting the application.
“The parties can modify the dates set by the court by mutual agreement.
“Given the tight time frame under which the parties are operating, the deposition can, if necessary occur on a non-weekday.
“It is so ordered.”
Atiku has filed an appeal at the supreme court against the judgment of the tribunal which affirmed Tinubu’s victory in the February 25 election.