Chicago, Illinois – In a dramatic legal development, Judge Nancy Maldonado of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has issued an immediate stay on the release of President Bola Tinubu’s university records, following a plea by Tinubu himself, who expressed concerns about severe and irreparable damage to his life.
The high-stakes legal battle unfolded after Mr. Tinubu, through his legal representatives, implored Judge Maldonado to postpone the implementation of a September 6 order issued by Judge Jeffrey Gilbert, a magistrate. In a move that signifies the gravity of the situation, Judge Maldonado granted the stay, acknowledging the potential life-altering consequences for Mr. Tinubu.
“This needs to be handled with care,” Judge Maldonado emphasized during the proceedings.
Under this new development, Mr. Tinubu’s legal team has been granted until Monday to submit a comprehensive brief to the court. Meanwhile, Atiku Abubakar’s legal representatives have pledged to respond by 11:00 p.m. on the same day.
“I may ultimately adopt the magistrate’s recommendation and allow the discovery to go forward, or I can ask all parties to file briefs afresh,” Judge Maldonado stated, underscoring the complexity of the case.
At the heart of this legal clash lies a subpoena application filed by Mr. Abubakar, who is seeking access to Mr. Tinubu’s records at Chicago State University. This request comes in the wake of widespread discrepancies concerning the Nigerian president’s academic records that are already in the public domain.
Judge Gilbert had previously granted Mr. Abubakar’s application in a judgment issued on Tuesday. This ruling not only ordered the production of the documents but also called for the deposition of the school’s administrators. Mr. Abubakar intends to employ these records to establish Mr. Tinubu’s ineligibility for the presidency, invoking the constitutional section that disqualifies a candidate who submits a forged certificate to the electoral office, INEC.
However, officials at Chicago State University have maintained that Mr. Tinubu did attend the institution. They have also noted their inability to authenticate his certificate under oath due to uncertainty surrounding its origin.
Initially, Mr. Tinubu argued against the release of the documents to Mr. Abubakar, contending that they would not hold up in the Nigerian Supreme Court. He intends to file them as part of his appeal against a tribunal verdict certifying his election on September 6.
As this legal battle unfolds, it continues to captivate attention, both in Nigeria and beyond, due to its potential implications for the highest office in the country.