The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has objected to President Bola Tinubu’s appeal to stop the release of his academic credentials by the Chicago State University, CSU, to Atiku Abubakar.
On September 23, Mr Tinubu filed an appeal against the ruling of Judge Jeffrey Gilbert, sitting at the United States’ district Court of Northern Illinois, which ordered the institution to release all relevant records pertaining to him to Mr Abubakar, who was presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in the 2023 election.
But ruling on Mr Tinubu’s emergency application in case No. 23 CV 05099 on Saturday, the presiding Judge Nancy Maldonado overruled Mr Tinubu’s objections to Magistrate Judge Gilbert’s recommended ruling, and therefore adopts the ruling in full”.
“For the foregoing reasons, 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. 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.”
Mrs Maldonado therefore directed CSU “to produce all relevant and non-privileged documents in response to Requests for Production Nos. 1 through 4 (as narrowed by Judge Gilbert and adopted here) in Mr. Abubakar’s subpoena by 12:00 p.m. (noon) CDT, on Monday, October 2, 2023. The Rule 30[b]  deposition of CSU’s corporate designee must be completed by 5:00 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, October 3, 2023”.
The ruling titled memorandum opinion and order also read, “Atiku Abubakar initiated this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782, a federal statute that allows a federal district court to order a person or entity within the district to produce documents or testimony for use in a foreign legal proceeding.
“Mr Abubakar is a former Vice President of Nigeria and was a candidate for president in Nigeria’s February 2023 presidential election. Mr. Abubakar seeks an order under 28 US.C. § 1782 directing Chicago State University [CSU], which is located in this district, to produce certain documents and testimony related to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the declared winner of the February 2023 Nigerian presidential election.
“Mr Abubakar has challenged the validity of President Tinubu’s election in Nigerian courts on a number of grounds, including a claim that President Tinubu submitted a forged diploma to the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] stating that he graduated from CSU.
“Mr Abubakar contends the fraudulent submission would have disqualified President Tinubu from participating in the election, and he therefore seeks records and testimony from CSU related to President Tinubu’s diploma, and his graduation from CSU, to support Mr. Abubakar’s challenge to the election results.”