Tinubu files motion to block U.S. court from releasing his Chicago university records
Bola Tinubu

Bola Tinubu, Nigeria’s president, has filed a motion seeking to prevent a federal court in the United States from releasing his Chicago State University academic records to Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 25 presidential election.

Atiku had approached the States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to issue a subpoena for Chicago State University to release Tinubu’s school records.

The PDP candidate cited longstanding controversies around the Nigerian president’s background.

The former vice president told the court he was seeking the documents as part of discovery to strengthen his legal challenge against the declaration of Mr Tinubu as Nigeria’s president on March 1, 2023, following the hotly-contested February 23 election.

However, Tinubu, through his team of attorneys, has asked to be added as an interested party in the suit, alleging that Chicago State University might be unable to fully protect his interest as the owner of the records being sought.

“Mr Tinubu should be allowed to join or intervene because he has a direct personal interest in records sought, his interests are not fully represented or protected by Respondent Chicago State University, and his interests will be affected if he is not permitted to join or intervene,” he said in his motion to join the suit filed on August 3 and submitted by his Chicago attorney Christopher Carmichael.

“Chicago State University stated that its obligation is satisfied by providing notice of the application and attempt to access the records. Chicago State’s position is that it does not have an obligation to oppose the application and, therefore, CSU does not adequately represent Mr Tinubu’s interests,” the filing said.

Consequently, Mr Tinubu argued that the records should not be released because they fell under a 1974 privacy law for American students.

Atiku’s lawsuit “indirectly seeks relief against Mr Tinubu by seeking his records that the federal and state governments have determined should be confidential. See 20 U.S.C. § 1232(g) (describing the purpose of the Federal Educational Records and Privacy Act of 1974 as to protect students from a school’s unauthorized release of a student’s records); 105 ILCS 10/6(a) (prohibiting the release, transfer, disclosure and dissemination of school student records),” the attorneys argued.

A federal judge had been assigned to the case, and both parties anticipated its expedited hearing and disposal, especially after Mr Abubakar argued that the Nigerian election petitions tribunal would deliver a verdict around September 21, 2023.


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