The Chicago State University (CSU) released the academic records of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in compliance with the order of the District Court of Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
The court had, on Saturday, ordered the CSU to release the academic records of Tinubu to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, Tinubu’s main challenger in the 2023 general elections.
The development came after a U.S. judge, Nancy Maldonado, in a memorandum of opinion and order, adopted all the rulings of Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert of the U.S. District Court.
Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had objected to the Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert ruling ordering the immediate release of the academic records by the CSU.
The president had said releasing the documents with deposition would cause him severe harm because they were private to him and would not be admissible in the ongoing petition against him in Nigeria.
But Atiku had filed another appeal, leading to the judge ordering that the documents be released within 48 hours.
“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 had ruled.
CSU, in a certificate of service signed by its counsel, Michael D. Hayes, stated that: “I hereby certify that on this 2nd day of October, 2023 the forgoing response to the Applicant’s Revised Subpoena to Produce Documents was served on all counsel of record by electronic mail.”
Details of the released documents sought by Atiku showed that CSU complied with his request for a true correct copy of the diploma for the Bachelor of Science degree issued in 1979 and Bates labeled them as CSU 0001 through 0007 with an obscured student’s name which the university said was for privacy reasons.
The university, however, said it could not locate a true and correct copy relating to the diploma it issued in 1979 to Tinubu.
The university said, “CSU does not in the ordinary course keep copies of student diplomas, and after diligent search cannot locate a copy of the original diploma it prepared for Mr Tinubu in 1979, hence has no documents responsive to this request.
On Atiku’s request for any of the university’s diploma other than that issued to President Tinubu that “contains the same font, seal, signatures, and wording which purports to be a CSU diploma issued to the president on or about June 22, 1979, the university said after diligent search it located and Bates labelled them CSU 0008 through CSU 0010 and obscured the student’s identity for privacy reasons.
“The students’ names on these diplomas have been redacted for privacy reasons. CSU is also producing Bates labeled as CSU 0011 and CSU 0012 diplomas prepared for other CSU students (with their names redacted for privacy) which match the format of the Tinubu replacement diploma dated June 27, 1997,” the university said.
The university also released documents demanded by Atiku on the correct copies of the documents earlier certified by Jamar Orr in Exhibit D to Uwais Declaration, and Bates labeled the same CSU 0013 through 0032. But the institution said the communication to CSU between August 1, 2022 and August 1, 2023, was not produced because the objection to them was sustained by the court.
The releases followed an order on Saturday by Judge Nancy Maldonado, in overruling Tinubu’s objection to Judge Gilbert’s earlier approval to Atiku’s application.
She ruled that Atiku’s requests met the threshold and requirements under 28 U.S.C. 1782 as Tinubu’s submission of his CSU diploma to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its relevancy outweighs his privacy interests.
She further noted that Atiku made the request for the documents as a candidate in the February 25 presidential election to enable him to tender them in his appeal at the Supreme Court in Nigeria in support of his claim that Tinubu was, as of the time of the election, not qualified to contest.
When contacted on the telephone last night for a reaction to the release of Tinubu’s academic records, a spokesperson to Atiku, Phrank Shaibu, said he would get back to Daily Trust, but as of the time of filing the report around midnight, he did not do so. Neither did he reply to a text message sent to him.
Controversy had trailed the details of credentials submitted by Tinubu to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).