Chicago State University (CSU) has complied with the order of the District Court of Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, and released the academic records of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. This development comes after the court, on Saturday, directed CSU to disclose Tinubu’s academic records to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, who is Tinubu’s main rival in the 2023 general elections.
U.S. Judge Nancy Maldonado, in a memorandum of opinion and order, endorsed the rulings of Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert of the U.S. District Court. Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had initially objected to the release of the records, citing potential harm to his privacy and inadmissibility in the ongoing petition against him in Nigeria.
However, Atiku filed an appeal, leading to the judge’s order that the documents be released within 48 hours. The court overruled Tinubu’s objections and adopted the ruling in full.
In a certificate of service signed by its counsel, Michael D. Hayes, CSU stated, “I hereby certify that on this 2nd day of October, 2023, the foregoing 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 indicate that CSU complied with Atiku’s request for a true and correct copy of the diploma for Tinubu’s Bachelor of Science degree issued in 1979. However, the university stated that it could not locate a true and correct copy of the diploma issued to Tinubu in 1979.
CSU clarified, “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 another CSU diploma that contains the same font, seal, signatures, and wording as Tinubu’s diploma issued on or about June 22, 1979, CSU located and labeled them as CSU 0008 through CSU 0010, with obscured student identities for privacy reasons.
The university also released documents demanded by Atiku on the correct copies of the documents certified by Jamar Orr in Exhibit D to Uwais Declaration, labeled as CSU 0013 through 0032. However, the communication to CSU between August 1, 2022, and August 1, 2023, was not produced as the objection to them was sustained by the court.
Judge Maldonado, in overruling Tinubu’s objections, stated that Atiku’s requests met the threshold and requirements under 28 U.S.C S 1782. She noted that Atiku made the request as a candidate in the February 25 presidential election to support his claim that Tinubu was not qualified to contest at the time of the election.
As of the time of reporting, Atiku’s spokesperson, Phrank Shaibu, did not provide a reaction to the release of Tinubu’s academic records. Controversy had surrounded the details of Tinubu’s credentials submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
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