PDP Presidential Aspirant Asks Supreme Court to Reject Technicality

Salihu Ali, Abuja.

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The presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 2023 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has again pleaded with the Supreme Court to jettison technicality and grant his application for leave to tender fresh and additional evidence. This is to support his claim that President Bola Tinubu submitted forged documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to contest the February 25 presidential election.
Atiku predicated his plea on the grounds that presenting forged documents by any candidate, especially by a candidate vying for the highest office in the land, is a very grave constitutional issue that must not be encouraged.
The one-time Vice-president Atiku stated this in his reply on point of law to Tinubu’s objection to the grant of leave to Atiku to present the fresh evidence before the apex court.

READ MORE: Atiku, PDP Head to Supreme Court

Tinubu had predicated his objection on grounds of jurisdiction and that the issue of qualification is a pre-election matter, amongst others, and subsequently prayed the court to deny the grant of the application.
But in his reply on point of law, Atiku, while faulting Tinubu, submitted that issues of merit ought not to be determined or pronounced upon at the interlocutory stage.
The applicants while noting that they are only at this stage merely applying for leave of the Supreme Court to receive the fresh evidence, submitted that “to refuse to grant the leave, as the respondents have argued, will amount to undue technicality.”
“The Supreme Court, as the apex court and indeed the 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 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.
“In urging the honourable court to overrule the objections of the respondents, we can do no better than to commend to your noble lordships the insightful words of the Supreme Court in ASSAH & ORS V. KARA & ORS (2014) LPELR-24212(SC), per Rhodes-Vivour, JSC as follows:
“Law is blind. It has no eyes. It can not 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. (underlining ours),” the applicants submitted.
Meanwhile, in a 20-paragraph affidavit deposed to in support of the application, Atiku argued that “if the apex court grants the application, there would be no need for any further argument other than the written address in support of same, showing that the 2nd respondent is in violation of the provisions of Section 137 (1) (j) of the constitution by presenting a certificate disclaimed by the institution from where he purportedly procured same.”
Besides, Atiku pointed out that the presentation of a forged certificate disqualifies a candidate for all time, no matter when presented.

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