Summary of Atiku’s Chicago fishing expedition

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By Bayo Onanuga

@aonanuga1956  Wrote:  With the circulation of misleading reports about Atiku’s case in Chicago, I asked a lawyer, Oluwole Afolabi for an executive summary. He did a good job, offering non-legalese, succinct insight.

How it started: Atiku’s lawyers brought an application under U.S.C. 1782 for the court’s assistance to obtain evidence from CSU by way of Subpoena regarding President Bola Tinubu’s academic records.

Tinubu’s lawyers brought an application on his behalf to Intervene in the matter.
The application was granted.

Tinubu’s lawyers opposed the issuing of subpoena to obtain his academic records primarily on 3 grounds:

1. The documents are protected by FERPA (Federal Educational Rights Protection Act).

2. Atiku did not plead any facts relating to whether Asiwaju attended or graduated from CSU in his Petition at the Election Tribunal and as such any information that he obtained will not be admissible.

3. Atiku’s petition at the Election Tribunal had gone beyond the ‘evidentiary stage’ in that parties had adopted their processes and all that remained for the Tribunal to do was to deliver judgment. The Tribunal could no longer admit evidence.

While Atiku’s application was pending, the Court of Appeal delivered judgment. The judgment was against Atiku and in favour of Asiwaju.

The Magistrate Judge to whom the case was assigned scheduled hearing of the case for September 11th, 2023.

At the hearing, Atiku’s lawyers contended that they needed the documents for Atiku’s use at the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Tinubu’s lawyers countered that not only are the documents protected by FERPA, they can not use them at the Supreme Court because they were not pleaded in the Petition as required by the Electoral Act.

CSU informed the Court that Tinubu graduated from CSU and that the school does not have a copy of the Diploma that Tinubu allegedly submitted to INEC and so was not in a position to speak on the veracity or otherwise of the document.

CSU counsel further told the court that the school, like most schools in America, does not keep copies of Diplomas that it issued to its students.

Magistrate Judge Gilbert ordered CSU to respond to a limited portion of Atiku’s subpoena within 48 hours.

Tinubu’s lawyers filed a motion for stay of the execution of Magistrate Judge Gilbert’s order on the ground that the Magistrate Judge did not have the power to make the order it made.

He could only have made a recommendation to the Supervising Judge, who may then affirm or modify or reject it outrightly while proceeding to hear the application afresh.

Tinubu’s prayer was granted by Judge Nancy Maldonado. The Order of Magistrate Judge Gilbert was stayed and the Judge decided to hear the application afresh.

Judge Maldonado then directed Tinubu’s lawyers to file papers on their client’s behalf not later than 9am Monday, September 25th on why a subpoena should not be issued against CSU to release some of Asiwaju’s documents.

Atiku’s lawyers were directed to respond to Asiwaju’s court filings not later than 11:59pm on Wednesday and Asiwaju’s lawyers should file a Reply to it, if necessary, not later than 11:59pm on Thursday, September 28th.

Now that all the processes have been filed, Judge Nancy Maldonado will give a date for the hearing of Tinubu’s application. Ruling will be delivered thereafter. (Flowerbudnews)

Biola Lawal

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