Presidential Election Petition Court Faces Scrutiny Over Certified Copy of Ruling Heading.
In a surprising turn of events, the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has come under intense scrutiny after releasing a Certified True Copy (CTC) of its judgment with the header bearing the name of the Tinubu Presidential Legal Team, leaving questions unanswered and raising concerns about transparency and fairness in the legal process.
The PEPC’s decision to grant access to the Tinubu Presidential Legal Team to obtain CTC copies of its judgment while the petitioners, led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, had not yet received them has raised eyebrows and sparked a flurry of inquiries.
Atiku Abubakar, through his Special Assistant Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, issued a statement strongly criticizing this development. He insisted that the delay in providing his legal team with CTC copies of the judgment and the subsequent header confusion demand a clear and valid explanation from the PEPC.
“It is very clear that there are many questions begging for answers, including why the PEPC came to the decision to avail the Respondents, especially the Tinubu Legal Team, with a first receipt of the CTC of the judgment before the Plaintiffs,” Atiku’s statement read.
The confusion deepened when it was revealed that the lead counsel for Atiku and the PDP had requested express receipt of the judgment in open court, to which Justice Haruna Tsammani had agreed. However, the documents were not provided as promised.
Furthermore, concerns were raised about why the PEPC allowed the Tinubu Legal Team to have custody of the judgment earlier in the day on Friday, only providing it to the Petitioners later, and this was done after repeated requests from Atiku’s legal team.
Of particular note was the inclusion of the “Tinubu Presidential Legal Team” header on the documents, which raised questions about its origin and involvement in the formulation of the judgment.
The PEPC must now clarify why it chose to use this header, which should have been the official stamp of the Court of Appeal of Nigeria. Additionally, the court must address the delay in releasing the CTC copies, which effectively shortened the statutory 14-day window for the legal team of the PDP and Atiku to prepare their appeal to the Supreme Court.
As the legal challenge now shifts to the Supreme Court, the spotlight remains on these pressing questions, which have implications not only for the electoral process but also for the integrity of the Nigerian judiciary. The hope is that the judiciary, as the last resort for justice, will provide clear answers to these concerns and uphold the principles of fairness and transparency.