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Atiku Files Response, Says Tinubu’s Objection To Release of CSU Records Is Baseless

Atiku Files Response, Says Tinubu’s Objection To Release of CSU Records Is Baseless

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“An order directing discovery on the former need not come at the expense, or to the exclusion of, the latter. The Court should overrule the objection as to the “for use” requirement.

Arguing further, Atiku claimed that Tinubu did, “not dispute that a legal mechanism exists” then “he does not dispute this now, (acknowledging that the Supreme Court can “lift” the evidentiary procedural bar and reopen the record to “add new allegations and supporting evidence.”

In addition, Atiku claimed that Tinubu cannot credibly assert that Judge Gilbert “gave no weight to the decision of the Court of Appeal, in addressing the receptivity of the Nigerian courts to the new evidence.”

“For the foregoing reasons, the Court should overrule the Objections in their entirety”, Atiku submitted.

He further urged that “If the Court overrules the Objections, Applicant respectfully requests that it enter an order requiring production of documents no later than October 2, 2023, and the deposition scheduled no later than October 3, to allow time for transcripts to be finalised, and the discovery obtained to be sent to Nigeria (which is six (6) hours ahead) by October 4 so that such evidence may, in turn, be filed with the Supreme Court by October 5, which is when Applicant’s Nigerian counsel intend to submit any new evidence to the Supreme Court.”

Atiku had on August 2 brought an application for an order of mandamus compelling the CSU to release information regarding Tinubu’s record argued that Section 137 (1)(j) of the Nigerian Constitution (amended in 2010) specifically stated that no one would be legitimately elected president of Nigeria if the person, “has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission.”

Tinubu had on June 17, 2022, submitted a certificate to INEC that was purportedly issued in 1979 and signed by Elnora Daniel.But ms Daniel only arrived at CSU in 1998, from Hampton University, 19 years after Tinubu was said to have graduated. She left the school in 2008, following a financial mismanagement scandal, or 14 years before June 2022 when CSU issued yet a fresh certificate in Tinubu’s name under subpoena from a Nigerian lawyer who had inquired about Tinubu’s education there.

The irregularities prompted Atiku to file the suit to compel CSU to produce records relating to Tinubu and make its top officials available for deposition to certify the produced records, according to the Nigerian opposition leader’s lawyers. During a hearing on the matter on September 12, the CSU’s lawyer Michael Hayes, had said the school could not authenticate Tinubu’s certificate if asked under oath, although he said Tinubu attended the school and graduated in 1979.

Tinubu’s lawyers, led by Carmichael, argued that the court should not grant Atiku’s application because it was a frivolous expedition aimed at soiling the Nigerian president’s image.

Carmichael had also argued that the Nigerian Supreme Court would not accept fresh evidence that was not produced during the tribunal proceeding.

But Atiku’s team, led by Liu, argued that the Supreme Court would accommodate the fresh facts under unique circumstances, especially as they were not available to the Court of Appeal, which is the court of first instance in a presidential election dispute.

In his ruling, Judge Gilbert had held that courts across the U.S have traditionally taken a broad and liberal view in granting applications under Section 1782, a statute that allows the release of documents and evidence domiciled in the U.S. to be obtained and used in a foreign proceeding.

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