In the ongoing legal battle between Nigerian former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and President Bola Tinubu regarding the release of Tinubu’s academic records from Chicago State University, the United States District Court in the Northern District of Illinois has made a significant announcement.
The court, which has been inundated with extensive email communications from various third parties concerning this case, issued a notification of docket entry on Friday, stating that it will not consider any third-party or ex parte submissions.
This decision underscores the court’s commitment to maintaining a focus on the parties involved in the litigation and the official records on the docket, rather than external submissions. The court acknowledged the substantial public interest in the dispute but emphasized its limited scope for review.
The legal dispute began when Atiku Abubakar filed a motion in the US Court to overrule Tinubu’s request to prevent Chicago State University from disclosing his academic records. Atiku had previously obtained an order from a US magistrate compelling the university to provide these records to his legal team.
The documents sought by Atiku’s legal team include Tinubu’s admission and acceptance records, dates of attendance, as well as degrees, awards, and honors received from Chicago State University. Atiku is currently challenging Tinubu’s victory in the February 25 presidential election, and the case is concurrently before the Supreme Court in Nigeria.
As the deadline for the release of these records approached, Tinubu’s legal representatives approached the US high court to request a review by a district judge and a delay of the magistrate’s order until Monday, both of which were granted.
Tinubu’s application argued that the academic records in question were not relevant in Nigerian courts, and Atiku’s request was overly intrusive, allowing for an unwarranted exploration of confidential educational records.
In response, Atiku’s legal counsel, Angela Liu, urged the court to reject Tinubu’s request entirely. Liu requested that if the court overrules the objections, it should mandate the production of documents no later than October 2, 2023, with the deposition scheduled for no later than October 3. This timeline aims to facilitate the timely submission of evidence to the Supreme Court in Nigeria by October 5.
Liu clarified that Atiku’s intention was not to conduct a fishing expedition into Tinubu’s private and confidential educational records, as contended by the opposition. The legal battle continues, and this decision by the US District Court underscores the importance of adhering to established legal procedures in this high-profile case.