The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the February 25 election, Atiku Abubakar, has urged the Supreme Court to allow him to present fresh evidence to back his claim that President Bola Tinubu forged the document he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
He said the presentation of forged documents by any candidate was a grave constitutional issue that should not be overlooked.
This was contained in Atiku’s reply on the point of law to Tinubu’s objection to the leave; he sought to present fresh evidence before the apex 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 taken his legal battle against Tinubu to the US, obtaining court orders compelling Chicago State University to release Tinubu’s academic records.
Interpreting the documents, Atiku and his legal team maintained that Tinubu forged the documents he submitted to INEC.
But the ruling All Progressives Congress and Tinubu camp had rubbished the claim, saying Atiku’s journey to the US to shop for evidence against Tinubu was fruitless.
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.
The Tinubu camp urged the Supreme Court to dismiss Atiku’s application seeking leave to submit the document. Tinubu’s camp described Atiku’s attempt to submit the document as “a crass abuse of court processes.”
But in his response on the point of law, Atiku urged the court to jettison technicality and grant his application.
He argued that the issue of merit ought not to be determined or pronounced at the interlocutory stage.
Atiku contended that refusing to allow him to tender the document would amount to undue 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 cases 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, and it 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 said his stance was not whether Tinubu attended Chicago State University or not, but that Tinubu allegedly presented a forged 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.