President Bola Tinubu has filed a motion challenging the Northern District of Illinois order directing the Chicago State University to release his academic records within two days.
Judge Geoffrey T. Gilbert made the order on September 19 after the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar made a request.
In the motion, Tinubu contended that the district court breached the US constitution by acting as a final court in such matters of discovery.
Tinubu argued that a magistrate should only report and recommend to the district judge in such matters and not to make a final order for immediate compliance.
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According to a statement by Paul Ibe, the media aide to Atiku, the president, through his counsel, Mr Carmichael, submitted that other courts on the rule on Section 1782 opted to issuing reports and recommendations.
He quotes the court papers as saying that the “Intervenor asks this court to enter an immediate order delaying the effect of the Magistrate’s order, at least until Monday, September 25, 2023, so the court may fully consider both the scope of the Magistrate’s authority to issue the order without review and the issue of whether the Magistrate’s order was a correct application of the law to the facts presented.”
He requested the court to delay the effect of the magistrate’s order until September 25, 2023, to fully consider the order’s scope and its application of the law to the facts presented.
“‘If Chicago State University complies with the magistrate’s order prior to this court having an opportunity to review the order, intervenor will suffer prejudice because the information will have been disclosed and effective relief will be impossible,” he continues in the document.
“The order requires the documents to be produced today. (Dkt. 40, pg. 31.)
“By contrast, Tinubu maintained that he has at least until September 27 to submit material, if not longer, and, as the magistrate commented, the “tight timeframe” was created “in no small part” by applicant. (Dt. 40, pg. 28.)
“That leaves enough time for the Court to review the ruling and, if discovery were permitted to proceed, for the applicant to still obtain the information sought.
“Due to the timing for compliance by Chicago State University — later today ~ intervenor is filing this motion separately from its challenge to the Magistrate’s ruling on the application. Intervenor intends to file, by the end of the day, a substantive brief addressing the errors in the magistrate’s decision.
“Intervenor requests that the court defer compliance by Chicago State University until Monday, which will provide both an opportunity to review the magistrate’s ruling, and, if ordered, to allow the discovery to proceed before September 27.
“For example, a production could accur on Tuesday morning, be followed by a deposition in the afternoon, and a court reporter can provide a rough or real time transcript that evening.
“Counsel for intervenor, Christopher W. Carmichael, communicated with counsel for applicant, Alexandre de Gramont, who opposes the motion.
“Wherefore, intervenor prays that the court grant the emergency motion and delay compliance with the magistrate’s September 19, 2023 order until the end of the day Monday, September 25, 2023.”
Atiku had on July 11 filed a petition seeking to obtain further details of Tinubu’s academic records at the Chicago State University.
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.
Both Tinubu and the CSU had, through their lawyers, filed objections to the grant of the requests under privacy rules
Ibe said he views Tinubu’s motion as a delay tactic to slow down the release of academic records before the Supreme Court begins hearing Atiku’s appeal against the September 6 judgement of the President Election Petition Court.
“Nigerians will soon see the true position of Atiku on the academic qualifications of Tinubu. It is just a matter of time,” he said.