President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has taken legal action by filing an emergency application seeking a review of a judgment that ordered the release of his academic records to Atiku Abubakar, the 2023 presidential candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP).
The judgment, issued by Judge Jeffrey Gilbert of the United States District Court, directed Chicago State University to release Tinubu’s academic records as part of an ongoing election petition proceeding in Nigeria.
Judge Gilbert, in his ruling on Tuesday, September 19, asserted that President Tinubu had compromised his educational privacy rights when he submitted a controversial certificate as part of his candidacy for the 2023 elections. The judge argued that Atiku’s election petition, which necessitated the release of these records, outweighed Tinubu’s privacy interest since he had voluntarily exposed his academic records to public scrutiny by submitting a disputed diploma to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Furthermore, Judge Gilbert mandated that the school administrators certify all released records under oath, ensuring their authenticity and accuracy.
As Chicago State University began preparations to release the academic records in compliance with the court’s order, President Tinubu lodged an emergency application in the district, according to reports from Peoples Gazette. Tinubu’s application seeks a senior judge’s review of Judge Gilbert’s September 19 order and a delay in the execution of the order until at least September 25.
It’s worth noting that Atiku Abubakar had previously sought a subpoena to obtain President Tinubu’s academic records due to discrepancies in the submissions that Tinubu had certified under oath to the Nigerian electoral office. President Tinubu had vigorously contested the release of his records, arguing that granting his opponent access to these records would infringe upon his privacy rights as protected by the Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act (FERPA), a U.S. law designed to safeguard the academic records of students.
This legal battle over the release of academic records continues to draw attention as it unfolds, adding a layer of complexity to the political landscape in Nigeria. The outcome of this case will undoubtedly have significant implications for the ongoing election petition proceedings and the broader political discourse in the country.