A significant development has emerged in the ongoing legal battle between President Bola Tinubu and his rival, Atiku Abubakar, following a recent ruling by a United States court. On August 9, Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago, issued a deadline of August 23 for President Tinubu to present compelling arguments against the release of his academic records from Chicago State University to Atiku Abubakar.
The court’s ruling stems from Atiku Abubakar’s petition, which he filed on July 11, seeking access to President Tinubu’s academic records from the Chicago State University. Atiku’s legal team, led by Angela M. Liu, has requested details of Tinubu’s admission, attendance dates, degrees, awards, and honors received during his time at the university.
President Tinubu’s attorney, Victor P. Henderson, has moved to prevent the university from disclosing his educational records. Henderson argued that Atiku’s subpoena was invalid due to insufficient compliance time, contending that the six-day period provided for compliance fell short of the 14-day requirement under Rules 219 and 137 of the Illinois Supreme Court Rules. Moreover, he characterized Atiku’s actions as an “improper fishing expedition about a foreign public official utilizing the Illinois court’s subpoena power.”
The court’s ruling not only sets a deadline for President Tinubu’s response but also establishes a timeline for further legal proceedings. Atiku Abubakar has been instructed to respond to Tinubu’s arguments by September 9, creating a two-week window for both parties to present their cases. The court’s deliberate timeline aligns with Nigeria’s impending election petitions tribunal judgment, anticipated to be delivered on September 21.
This legal dispute unfolds in the context of a broader electoral challenge, with Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi of the Labour Party challenging the outcome of the February 25 presidential election in Nigeria. As President Tinubu faces multiple court proceedings regarding his election and the authenticity of documents related to his attendance at Chicago State University, this dispute takes on added significance.
The court’s decision to impose a deadline and establish a structured timeline reflects the urgency with which it aims to resolve this matter before Nigeria’s election petitions tribunal delivers its judgment. The outcome of this legal battle could potentially impact the ongoing electoral challenge and shape the course of Nigeria’s political landscape. As the legal proceedings continue, stakeholders on both sides await the resolution of this high-stakes dispute.