The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago has expedited the process to provide former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar with academic records of President Bola Tinubu from Chicago State University (CSU). This move comes as Mr. Abubakar faces a tight deadline to file an appeal with the Supreme Court of Nigeria based on the requested records.
The court originally scheduled the in-person arguments of the lawyers representing Mr. Abubakar, President Tinubu, and CSU for September 15. However, citing “exigent circumstances” associated with the request, the court has rescheduled the hearing to September 12. Judge Jeffrey Gilbert emphasized the urgency of the matter, stating, “this matter is set for hearing in-person on 9/12/23 at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 1386.”
The court’s docket suggests that a ruling on the matter is imminent within the week. To ensure minimal delays, the court has instructed CSU to submit any objections to the scope of the requested records by 5:00 p.m. on September 11. It’s worth noting that CSU was initially given a longer period to file objections to the broadness of the subpoenas.
The urgency surrounding this request arose shortly after a panel of five appellate justices dismissed petitions against the current Nigerian president. In response, Mr. Abubakar sought the expedited issuance of the CSU subpoena in the United States to prepare his appeal for Nigeria’s Supreme Court within the 14-day timeframe mandated by electoral regulations.
However, there appears to have been confusion regarding the filing deadline among Mr. Abubakar’s U.S. legal team, led by Angela Liu. Chris Uche, the chief counsel for Mr. Abubakar and Nigeria’s main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, clarified that the appeal must be filed within 14 days, not the 21 days previously asserted by the U.S. attorneys.
President Bola Tinubu’s background has long been a subject of speculation and curiosity in Nigerian politics. Details such as his real name, parents, childhood neighborhood, and early education remain undisclosed. While he claims to have been a top accountant at Deloitte and later an executive at Mobil in the 1980s, allegations of involvement in Chicago’s narcotics business in the 1990s have complicated efforts to portray him as a transparent and dedicated politician in Nigeria’s democratic landscape.