Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in the February 25 election, has asked the Supreme Court to enable him to provide new evidence to support his claim that President Bola Tinubu faked the paper he presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
He stated that any candidate presenting false documents was a serious constitutional violation that should not be disregarded.
This was stated in Atiku‘s legal response to Tinubu’s opposition to the leave he sought to submit new evidence before the Supreme Court.
“Presenting forged documents by any candidate, especially by a candidate for the highest office in the land, is a very grave constitutional issue that must not be encouraged,” Atiku said.
Atiku had pushed Tinubu‘s legal struggle to the United States, where he obtained court orders ordering Chicago State University to divulge Tinubu’s academic records.
According to the records, Atiku and his legal team believe Tinubu fabricated the paperwork he presented to INEC.
The governing All Progressives Congress and Tinubu camp, however, have dismissed the accusation, claiming that Atiku’s trip to the United States to gather evidence against Tinubu was futile.
Tinubu’s lawyer also maintained that Tinubu’s academic records obtained in the US would not be admissible at the Supreme Court in Nigeria where Atiku is challenging Tinubu’s electoral victory.
Tinubu camp urged the Supreme Court to dismiss Atiku’s application seeking a leave to submit the document. Tinubu’s camp described Atiku’s attempt to submit the document as “a crass abuse of court processes.”
However, in his response on the legal grounds, Atiku begged the court to disregard the technicality and allow his plea.
He contended that the merits of the case should not be decided or ruled on at the interlocutory stage.
Atiku said that refusing to enable him to present the paper was an overly technicality.
“The Supreme Court, as the apex court and indeed a policy court, has intervened time and again to do substantial justice in such matters of great constitutional importance, as it did in the case of Amaechi vs. INEC (2008) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1080) 227 and Obi vs. INEC (2007) 11 NWLR (Pt. 1046) 565. The Supreme Court applied the principle of ubi jus ibi remedium to ensure substantial justice is done in such novel scenarios.
“The need to rebuff, eschew, and reject technicality and the duty of the court to ensure substantial justice is very germane in this matter, given the gravity of the constitutional issue involved in deciding whether a candidate for the highest office in the land, the office of President of the country, presented a forged certificate or not.
“Law is blind. It has no eyes. It cannot see. That explains why a statue of a woman with her eyes covered can be found in front of some high courts. On the contrary, justice is not blind. It has many eyes, it sees and sees very well. The aim of courts is to do substantial justice between the parties and any technicality that rears its ugly head to defeat the cause of justice will be rebuffed by the court, “ a portion of Atiku’s court paper read.
The ex-Vice President stated that his position was not about whether Tinubu attended Chicago State University or not, but about Tinubu allegedly presenting a falsified certificate to INEC.
“At the trial, a National Youth Service Corps certificate with serial number 173807 presented by the 2nd respondent to the 1st respondent was equally tendered by the appellants/applicants at the trial as “EXHIBIT PBD 1A” with the name Tinubu Bola Adekunle, which is annexed herewith as EXHIBIT J,” he added.