United States District Judge for Northern Illinois, Nancy Maldonado, has stayed an order compeling Chicago State University, (CSU), to release academic documents of President Bola Tinubu to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Magistrate Jeffrey Gilbert had on Tuesday ordered CSU to release Tinubu’s academic records to Atiku by the end of Thursday.
But during an emergency hearing on Thursday, Judge Maldonado gave attorneys on both sides an order to file additional arguments by next Thursday.
Tinubu’s lawyer, Christopher Carmichael, argued that Gilbert’s decision needed to be reviewed by a district judge.
His request was granted by Maldonado, who said she would rule as quickly as possible.
“I will have a busy weekend.
“The issue is of process and rules. I’m a rule person; that’s why I’m a judge. This case is quite involved. I am aware of the stakes. It’s more important to me to get this right,” she held.
Tinubu had filed an emergency motion on Thursday asking the Chicago Court to delay the release of his academic records till at least Monday Sept 25.
In his argument, Tinubu cited the basis for his motion, noting that Atiku is challenging the outcome of the February 2023 election in Nigeria. Tinubu emphasised that Atiku initiated his legal action under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 on August 2, 2023, after withdrawing a similar case filed in an Illinois State Court on July 11, 2023.
He explained that the time constraints are a result of Atiku’s decision to seek information using Section 1782 six months after the election had concluded.
Tinubu’s legal team said that they were unaware of the magistrate’s intent to issue a binding compliance ruling without court intervention until the order for CSU to release his records to Atiku was issued.
The lawyer further argued that “considering the nature of applications for discovery under 28 U.S.C. § 1782, the Ninth Circuit concluded a magistrate may only report and recommend to a district judge, in CPC Patent Technologies PTY Ltd. v. Apple, Inc., the Ninth Circuit held.”
The Chicago Court had ordered the CSU to hand over all records relating to Tinubu’s studentship to Atiku within two days.
Atiku is insisting that Tinubu’s claim of graduating from the Chicago State University is not authentic.
He filed an application which sought the documents to prove that the Nigerian leader was not eligible to vie for the presidential election when he did.