The legal team of the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, is planning to file a motion to challenge President Bola Tinubu’s plea for Chicago State University not to release privileged documents in his academic records.
The Special Adviser to Atiku on Public Communications, Phrank Shaibu, disclosed that the legal team had up to 48 hours to respond to the motion in the US court.
Atiku had earlier secured an order for CSU to make the president’s academic records available to his legal team.
A magistrate, Jeffrey Gilbert, had last week ordered Tinubu’s alma mater to provide all relevant and non-privileged documents to the applicant within two days.
Atiku is currently challenging the victory of the former Lagos State governor at the 2023 presidential poll and his recent affirmation by an election petition court in Nigeria.
The documents sought by the PDP candidate, through his counsel, Angela Liu, include the record of admission and acceptance at the university, dates of attendance including degrees, awards, and honors attained by the former governor of Lagos State at the university, among others.
But as the deadline given by Gilbert drew nearer on Thursday, Tinubu’s lawyers approached Maldonado, arguing that the earlier decision by Gilbert needed to be reviewed by a district judge.
The request for a review and delay of the order till Monday was eventually granted by the US district judge.
Tinubu’s application, filed by his lawyers, Oluwole Afolabi and Christopher Charmichael, advanced two reasons.
First was that his academic records in issue are not useful in Nigerian courts as claimed by Atiku because the Nigerian election proceedings and the Nigerian courts have explicitly been unreceptive to the discovery.
The second reason given was that Atiku’s request is unduly intrusive because it allows Applicant (Atiku) to conduct a fishing expedition into intervenor’s private, confidential, and protected educational records.
When asked on Wednesday to confirm if Atiku has filed the suit as he earlier threatened in Monday, Shaibu reassured our correspondent that the former vice president would submit the motion before midnight.
He said, “I am sure you have seen his application. We are working on our response. We have up till midnight today (Wednesday) to respond to them. And we will.”
On when they expect the court to rule over the matter, Shaibu stated that “It is after we have responded to the court, that it will fix the date and inform the parties.”
When contacted for reaction, Coordinator of Tinubu Presidential Legal Team, Babatunde Ogala, who spoke via phone from his base in the United States insisted he would rather not speak on the development.
“As I told you earlier, I am still on vacation,” he said. – Punch.