Chicago State University (CSU) has again confirmed that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu graduated from the institution in 1979.
It stated this in response to an application by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the February 25 election, Atiku Abubakar.
The United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, on August 9, ordered the university to respond to the application.
The case, numbered 1:23-cv-05099, is before Judge Maldonado Gilbert.
The university, in the response sighted by our reporter yesterday, stated that it would “defer” to the “intervenor” Tinubu concerning objections to privacy and relevancy issues he raised on the application.
It added: “Bola Tinubu, the President of Nigeria, graduated from the University in 1979.
“One of his political opponents, Abubakar, seeks discovery from the university of Tinubu’s student records and information about the dates and circumstances certain diplomas were issued by the university, asserting such discovery is pertinent to a Nigerian proceeding challenging Tinubu’s election earlier this year.
“The student records Abubakar seeks from the university and the information Abubakar seeks the university to provide pursuant to a deposition subpoena concern Tinubu’s private educational records.
“But since Tinubu has intervened to oppose this discovery, the university defers to Tinubu on the privacy issues implicated by Abubakar’s application.”
Chigaco University said it also defers to Tinubu on whether any of the discovery information sought is appropriate under the section it was sought (28 U.S.C. §1782), including whether it is relevant to the pending Nigerian proceeding.
“The university struggles to understand how – given that Tinubu did in fact graduate from the university in 1979 – Tinubu’s grades and other student records from the 1970s and date and signatory information on subsequently issued ceremonial diplomas could possibly have any bearing on a 2023 election challenge in a foreign country.
“But the university is admittedly not familiar with the issues in the Nigerian proceeding or the evidentiary and other legal principles applicable therein.
“Accordingly, the university defers to Tinubu – who obviously is familiar with these issues and directly involved in that foreign proceeding – to advance procedural and relevancy objections to the application.”
According to Chicago State University, in a recent conference with Atiku’s counsel about the application, it was confirmed that the evidentiary phase of the Nigerian proceeding has concluded.
Atiku’s lawyer, the university added, had insisted that the information sought in the application might be introduced in appellate proceedings to come.
The university urged the court, when ruling on the Atiku’s application, to scrutinise both the actual status of the Nigerian proceeding and the likelihood that any discovery information provided by the university would in fact be considered in the proceeding.
“The university reserves objections to the scope of the discovery sought by Abubakar,” the institution stated.
It prayed that in the event the court decides to allow any discovery to proceed, the judge should only direct “limited, targeted discovery”.
Chicago State University added: “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.”
The university’s response, dated August 23, was issued by its counsel, Michael D. Hayes, of Husch Blackwell LLP.
The Presidential Election Tribunal had reserved judgment on Atiku’s petition challenging Tinubu’s victory.
Source: The Nation