The United States District Court in Northern District of Illinois has ruled in favour of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, and ordered the Chicago State University to release President Bola Tinubu’s academic record by Monday (today).
But Tinubu’s lawyers insisted that the documents would not be relevant in Atiku’s appeal against Tinubu at the Supreme Court.
The PUNCH reports that Atiku had earlier secured an order from a US magistrate for CSU to make Tinubu’s academic records available to his legal team.
The magistrate, Jeffrey Gilbert, had ordered Tinubu’s alma mater to provide all relevant and non-privileged documents to Atiku’s legal team within two days.
The documents sought by the PDP candidate, through his counsel, Angela Liu, include Tinubu’s record of admission and acceptance at the Chicago State University, dates of attendance as well the degrees, awards, and honours obtained by Tinubu from the CSU.
But as the deadline given by the magistrate drew nearer, Tinubu’s lawyers approached the US high court, arguing that the earlier decision by the magistrate needed to be reviewed by a district judge.
The request for a review and delay of the magistrate’s order till Monday was eventually granted by the US district judge.
Tinubu’s application, filed by his New York-based lawyer, Oluwole Afolabi, advanced two reasons.
First is that his academic records in issue are not useful in Nigerian courts as claimed by Atiku because “the Nigerian election proceedings and the Nigerian courts have explicitly been unreceptive to the discovery.”
His second reason is that Atiku’s request “is unduly intrusive because it allows the applicant (Atiku) to conduct a fishing expedition into the intervenor’s private, confidential, and protected educational records.”
The former vice president in a fresh response filed last Wednesday, in Chicago, Illinois, charged the court to overrule Tinubu’s request in its entirety.
In a fresh judgment obtained by The PUNCH on Sunday, Maldonado noted that CSU did not object to Judge Jeffery Gilbert’s decision that the academic record be made public.
The court held that Atiku’s interest outweighs any intrusion on Tinubu’s privacy interests in his educational records.
The judge overruled Tinubu’s objections to the ruling by the magistrate ordering CSU to make his academic records available to Atiku.
Judge Gilbert also adopted the magistrate’s ruling in full.
Reacting to the verdict, a member of the PDP National Executive Council, National Deputy Youth Leader, Timothy Osadolor, described President Tinubu’s appeal as a needless route.
Osadolor, in an interview with The PUNCH, said “If he was convinced that has had nothing to hide, there was no need for those appeals against the courts.”
According to him, the US judgment will reinforce Atiku’s appeal before the Supreme Court.
SOURCE: PUNCH NEWSPAPER