Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, has petitioned the Supreme Court, claiming that the judgment of the Presidential Election Petitions Court, which rejected his challenge to President Bola Tinubu’s election, was marred by alleged bias and the use of derogatory language.
Atiku argues that statements made about his petition, including the phrase “clever by half,” constitute a violation of his right to a fair trial and a significant miscarriage of justice.
Approximately 15 days ago, a unanimous decision by the five-man panel of the PEPC, headed by Justice Haruna Tsammani, criticized Atiku’s legal team for their failure to present credible evidence demonstrating his victory in the February 25 presidential election with a majority of valid votes.
However, Atiku’s legal team, led by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chris Uche, submitted 35 grounds of appeal to the Supreme Court.
Within the 34th ground of his appeal, Uche argued that the language and expressions employed by the lower court demonstrated a lack of respect and a dismissive attitude toward the appellants.
Uche maintained that the lower court failed to use civil, modest, moderate, and temperate language that is befitting of the exalted position of the court in line with the Revised Code for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, promulgated by the National Judicial Council.
He argued that coming to court was Atiku’s right, and the PEPC was not expected to make light of it through disparaging words.
He called for the setting aside of the PEPC judgement on the grounds of bias, among other reasons.
“While discountenancing the arguments and contentions of the Appellants, the lower Court in the Court’s judgment used expressions such as ‘ludicrous’ (page 721 of the judgment), ‘clever by half’ (page 557 of the judgment), ‘dishonourable practice’ (page 507 of the judgment), ‘smuggle’ (page 557), ‘fallacious’ (page 721 of the judgment); ‘foul play’ (page 560 of the judgment),’cross the line of misconception’ (page 644 of the judgment); ‘collect evidence from the market (page 765 of the judgment); those who are not used to reading preambles’ (page 726 of the judgment);”hollowness in the argument of the Petitioners” (page 727 of the judgment); etc.
“The use of the said words and expressions substantially affected the lower court’s consideration of the Appellants’ case, peremptorily striking out their witness statements on oath, their exhibits, their pleadings, and discountenancing the evidence of their witnesses, and thus occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice,” Atiku’s team submitted.