Chicago— In a latest twist to the ongoing legal battle between Nigerian President Bola Tinubu and his political rival Atiku Abubakar, a United States District Court has issued a deadline of August 23 for President Tinubu to present compelling arguments explaining why Chicago State University (CSU) should not release his academic records to Mr. Abubakar.
The court’s decision was made by Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert, who was assigned to the case at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. This move comes after Mr. Abubakar’s request earlier this month for a court-approved subpoena to access President Tinubu’s academic files at CSU, citing discrepancies in President Tinubu’s background.
The dispute centers around conflicting birth year information provided by President Tinubu. While he claims to have been born on March 29, 1952, public records have indicated other years, including 1954. Moreover, Mr. Abubakar’s legal team discovered that President Tinubu had removed his primary and secondary education records from his files due to the nonexistence of the listed schools in Nigeria.
Mr. Abubakar believes that the CSU records could shed light on President Tinubu’s early academic history, potentially clarifying the matter. President Tinubu swiftly responded by filing a motion to block the release of the records, citing U.S. privacy laws for students.
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However, the court’s interest in pursuing the case remained evident, especially after Mr. Abubakar presented valid arguments for the court’s jurisdiction. As a result, Judge Gilbert has set the deadline of August 23 for President Tinubu to present his case against releasing the records. Subsequently, Mr. Abubakar is expected to respond to President Tinubu’s arguments by September 9, with the court aiming to reach a ruling before September 21.
This timeline aligns with Nigeria’s election petitions tribunal’s anticipated judgment in the suit contesting President Tinubu’s election victory. Mr. Tinubu has faced an array of allegations from Mr. Abubakar’s legal team, including narcotics dealing, money laundering, and election fraud, all of which are being examined in Nigerian courts.
In response, President Tinubu maintains that he was indeed the student who attended CSU, despite the discrepancies in his academic history. He also downplays a 1990s narcotics scandal as a civil forfeiture proceeding without bearing criminal implications on his political career.
As the legal proceedings unfold, the Nigerian public watches with keen interest, awaiting a resolution to the complex legal dispute that could potentially impact the country’s political landscape.
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