An Eastern Illinois court in United States of America (USA) has ordered the Chicago State University to release the academic records of President Bola Tinubu to his rival Presidential candidate in the 25 February election, Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Penpushing reports that the Magistrate Judge, Justice Jeffrey Gilbert, gave the ruling on Tuesday, ordering the university to produce all relevant and non-privileged documents to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Presidential Candidate within two days.
The opposition party candidate had on August 2, 2023 filed an application requesting from the university the academic documents of Tinubu, challenging the authenticity of the Chicago State University Diploma Tinubu which he presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the election.
Penpushing further reports that Atiku, a former Vice President argued that among other things, a second Chicago State University Diploma has since emerged (dated June 27, 1979) that bears the name Bola Ahmed Tinubu but also presents with a different font, punctuation, seal, and signatures, than the June 22, 1979 Diploma, among other alleged discrepancies.
The complainant told the court that he wanted to authenticate these documents whether a Chicago State University Diploma in the name of Bola Ahmed Tinubu dated June 22, 1979, that was submitted to the electoral body before the Nigerian presidential election in February 2023 is genuine or was forged.
Penpushing also reports that Atiku, who case to challenge Tinubu’s victory had been dismissed by the Presidential Petition Election Tribunal argued that under Nigerian law, the submission of a fraudulent document to the electoral umpire would have disqualified President Tinubu from participating in the election.
The candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when filed his application in the America district court on 2 August, 2023, his petition challenging the presidential election was pending before the Nigerian Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
Penpushing reports that Atiku, therefore said his application in the United States of America(USA) court was to obtain discoveries that would support his petitions in the Nigerian court of appeal, while documents showed that a day after Atiku’s application was filed, President Tinubu filed a motion to join in the suit, and the judge granted the motion to intervene on 7 August, 2023.
The President in his intervention, contended that the discovery Atiku sought was not relevant to the Nigerian proceedings arguing that issues regarding his educational background were not referenced specifically in Atiku’s petition filed with the court of appeal.
Penpushing further reports that Tinubu said those matters instead were raised in Atiku’s reply materials filed in support of the petition arguing that the Nigerian Court of Appeal declined to consider issues related to Tinubu’s educational background that had not been included in Petition but rather were belatedly raised for the first time in Atiku’s petition.
‘Those matters instead were raised in Atiku’s reply materials filed in support of the petition. The Nigerian Court of Appeal declined to consider issues related to Tinubu’s educational background that had not been included in Petition but rather were belatedly raised for the first time in Atiku’s petition’
Penpushing also reports that Atiku responded that in his intended appeal of the Presidential Election Petition Court’s decision, the Supreme Court of Nigeria could consider new evidence in exceptional circumstances under the Nigerian Electoral Act of 2022 and/or in its discretion, and he provides a declaration to that effect from his counsel in the Nigerian Proceedings.
The court said it agreed with the petitioner who is the Presidential Candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and therefor he (Atiku) requested four documents from Chicago State University.
Penpushing reports that the request include true and correct copies of (1) an exemplar of a Chicago State University Diploma issued to Tinubu in 1979; (2) Intervenor’s Diploma issued in 1979; (3) any exemplar of a Chicago State University diploma that contains the same font, seal, signatures, and wording as contained in Exhibit C to the First Liu Declaration, which purports to be a CSU Diploma issued to Tinubu on or about June 22, 1979; and (4) the CSU documents that were certified and produced by Jamar Orr (an associate general counsel at CSU) as well as communications relating to these documents.
The American court in its ruling, said declared that in view of the reasons above and pursuant to to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 for an Order Directing Discovery from Chicago State University for Use in a Foreign Proceeding [ECF No. 1, the request was granted
“For all of the reasons discussed above, 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 [ECF No. 1] is granted. Respondent CSU shall produce all relevant and non-privileged documents in response to Requests for Production’
‘The deposition of respondent’s corporate designee shall proceed within two days of the production of documents. 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,” the court added.
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