A U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, on Tuesday, ordered the Chicago State University (CST) to release the academic records of President Bola Tinubu.
This is following a request made by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar.
Judge Gilbert, a US magistrate judge in charge of the court, in his ruling, ordered Chicago State University to produce “all relevant and non-privileged documents” to Abubakar Atiku, the plaintiff, within two days.
The ruling acknowledged Tinubu’s lawyers’ argument against lifting their client’s privacy privilege and clarified that only “non-privileged documents” should be produced.
“This matter is before the Court on Atiku Abubakar’s Application Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 for an Order Directing Discovery from Chicago State University for Use in a Foreign Proceeding (“Application”) [ECF No. 1]. For the reasons discussed below, the Application is granted,” Gilbert said.
Atiku had approached the US court for an order compelling the CSU to release the academic records of Tinubu.
Documents sought by Atiku, through his counsel, Angela M. Liu, include record of his admission and acceptance at the university, dates of attendance including degrees, awards and honours attained by Tinubu at the university, among others.
Atiku informed the court that the subpoena was to test the truth and veracity of Tinubu’s assertions, adding that he is currently the President of Nigeria and is facing court proceedings concerning his election and the authenticity of documents relating to his attendance at Chicago State University.
Reacting, the university, in a document seen by Daily Trust said it does not “understand” why Tinubu’s academic records “could possibly have any bearing on a 2023 election challenge in a foreign country”.
However, it said once an order is granted by a court in the United States (US), Tinubu’s academic record would be made public.
Meanwhile, Daily Trust reports that the University had shielded its X page (formerly Twitter) from the public following a barrage of enquiries unleashed on it by some Nigerians on whether President Tinubu graduated from the school.
Netizens stormed the page following Atiku’s petition.
Daily Trust confirmed that the page which was earlier Public, has been locked with a message that read: “These posts are protected. Only confirmed followers have access to @ChicagoState’s posts and complete profiles. Tap a Follow button to send a follow request.”
In January 2022, CSU confirmed through Beverly Poindexter, who is in charge of official transcript requests, enrolment, and degree verification at the Office of the Registrar, that Tinubu attended the institution.
The CSU said, “Mr Tinubu did attend our university, however, if further information is needed, go to studentclearinghouse.org website to make a formal request.”
In an earlier letter dated August 20, 1999, and signed by then Registrar, Lois Davis, the university stated that Tinubu was its student between 1977 and 1979.
He wrote, “Please be advised that Bola A. Tinubu did indeed attend Chicago State University from August 1977 through June 1979. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business and Administration with honours on June 22, 1979. His major was Accounting.”
A Public Affairs Analyst, Durojaiye Ogunsanya, also identified President Tinubu as his classmate at the CSU.