Chicago State University (CSU) says it will release the academic records of President Bola Tinubu if a United States court grants the order.
The university asked the court to direct “only limited and targeted discovery” of the information sought by Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election.
Recently, Abubakar approached a US court for the northern district of Illinois in Chicago, for an order compelling CSU to release the academic records of Tinubu.
Tinubu’s credentials show that he graduated from CSU in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting and management.
However, there have been allegations bordering on discrepancies with Tinubu’s certificate.
In the suit filed before the US district court, Abubakar prayed that the court should subpoena Tinubu’s files domiciled with CSU.
Abubakar said the files will settle the controversy surrounding Tinubu’s academic background and aid the election petition tribunal.
The president, through his counsel, had filed a counter application opposing the request for the release of his academic records.
The US court had also ruled that it has the jurisdiction to entertain the suit filed by the former vice-president.
CSU RESPOND TO ATIKU
The university, in its response to Atiku’s application, said it does not “understand” why Tinubu’s academic records “could possibly have any bearing on a 2023 election challenge in a foreign country”.
CSU argued that some requests in the application are “clearly inappropriate”, adding that the applicant is also seeking the employment details of one of his former employees.
“Finally, in the event the Court determines to allow any discovery to proceed here, the University urges the Court to direct only limited, targeted discovery on the University,” CSU said in a response filed by Michael Hayes, its counsel.
“As leave to issue any discovery has not yet been granted, and the Court’s views on what if any discovery is appropriate here under 28 U.S.C. §1782 are not yet known, it is premature for the University to raise objections to the scope of the documents and information sought in Abubakar’s two subpoenas.
“But without limiting further objections, which the University expressly reserves, the University notes that the scope and relevancy of certain of Abubakar’s requests are clearly inappropriate.
“For example, Abubakar’s document subpoena Request No. 5 seeks information on diplomas issued by the University for a 44-year period (1979 to the present), and Abubakar’s deposition subpoena Topic No. 7 seeks information on the employment status and reasons for departure of a former employee in the University’s General Counsel’s Office.
“Following this Court’s ruling on the Application, should any discovery be permitted, the University will meet and confer promptly and in good faith with Abubakar’s counsel to attempt to address all the University’s concerns.”
On June 23, the presidential election petition tribunal admitted certified copies of Tinubu’s academic and professional records tendered by Abubakar and the PDP.
The documents, which include a BSc certificate from Chicago State University, a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificate and Mobil Nigeria Oil Plc certificate of service, were tendered through a witness.
On July 4, a counsel to Tinubu submitted 12 documents containing the president’s educational records from CSU.
The petitioners — Abubakar and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) — told the court that Tinubu allegedly distorted his age and has conflicting academic and personal records.
The tribunal has completed proceedings on the case against Tinubu and will announce a date for judgment.