Sunday, July 21, 2024

Judge Adjourns CSU Records Case to Monday

President Bola Tinubu experienced relief following the decision of Nancy Maldonado, a Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, to halt the release of his university records to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar ahead of the election on February 25.

The judgment postponing Magistrate Jeffrey Gilbert’s execution on the grounds of the Chicago State University was a response to Tinubu’s argument that Atiku would suffer “severe and irreparable harm” if the documents were released.

Gilbert had issued an order on Tuesday evening directing Chicago State University (CSU) to provide Atiku with Tinubu’s academic records within 48 hours in order to support his argument that Tinubu should not have challenged the election.

The judge determined that the applicant, a former vice-president of Nigeria, had shown sufficient justifications for why Tinubu’s academic records should be made available to him in making the order.

The court further mandated that any documents filed under oath must be verified by the administration of the school.

The district judge stayed the discovery order at 3 p.m. yesterday (Chicago time), just before it was to take effect.

Tinubu explicitly requested that the District Court postpone enforcing Judge Gilbert’s decision until Monday, September 25, 2023 in a new emergency motion.

He asserted that since Atiku still had till September 27 to submit information in favor of his appeal before the Supreme Court, he wouldn’t be adversely affected if the court postponed the release of the aforementioned documents.

Judge Maldonado allowed the application in a brief ruling Wednesday night via telephone conference, adding that “this needs to be handled with care.” The judge had previously acknowledged that the situation might be too severe for Tinubu to handle.

Maldonado instructed Tinubu’s attorneys to submit a comprehensive brief on the case by or on Monday, September 25, adding that the court might ultimately accept the magistrate’s suggestion and permit further discovery, or it could order all parties to submit new arguments.

Atiku’s legal team announced that they would submit their response to the brief by 11:00 p.m. that same day.

Atiku claimed that Section 137 (1)(j) of the Nigerian Constitution (as amended in 2010), which specifically states that an individual would be legitimately elected president of Nigeria if the person “has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission,” prevents anyone from being legitimately elected president of Nigeria, in an application for an order of mandamus on August 2.

Additionally, on June 17, 2022, Tinubu submitted a certificate to INEC that was allegedly signed by Elnora Daniel and dated 1979. But Ms. Daniel didn’t start classes at CSU until 1998, 19 years after Mr. Tinubu was purported to have graduated from Hampton University.

Following a financial mismanagement incident, she departed the school in 2008, or 14 years before June 2022, when CSU produced a new certificate in Tinubu’s name in response to a subpoena from a Nigerian lawyer who had enquired about Tinubu’s studies there.

According to the lawyers for the Nigerian opposition leader, Atiku was spurred by the irregularities to initiate the lawsuit to compel CSU to produce records relating to Tinubu and make its top employees accessible for deposition to authenticate the produced materials.

Although he claimed that Tinubu attended the school and graduated in 1979, CSU’s attorney Michael Hayes stated during a hearing on the subject on September 12 that the institution could not authenticate Tinubu’s certificate if requested under oath.

Following a financial mismanagement incident, she departed the school in 2008, or 14 years before June 2022, when CSU produced a new certificate in Tinubu’s name in response to a subpoena from a Nigerian lawyer who had enquired about Tinubu’s studies there.

According to the lawyers for the Nigerian opposition leader, Atiku was spurred by the irregularities to initiate the lawsuit to compel CSU to produce records relating to Tinubu and make its top employees accessible for deposition to authenticate the produced materials.

Although he claimed that Tinubu attended the school and graduated in 1979, CSU’s attorney Michael Hayes stated during a hearing on the subject on September 12 that the institution could not authenticate Tinubu’s certificate if requested under oath.

Gilbert concluded in his decision that courts in the U.S. have historically granted requests under Section 1782, a law that permits the release of papers and evidence domiciled in the U.S. to be retrieved and utilized in a foreign proceeding.

In the meantime, President Tinubu successfully attended his first General Assembly session in New York before departing yesterday for Lagos via Paris. He met with many international leaders, corporate executives, and Nigerians living abroad.

Mana Balagbogbo
Mana Balagbogbo
Broadcast Journalist with LN247 (Everything Politics).

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