As hearing in the Presidential Election Petition appeals filed by candidates of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar and Labour Party (LP) Peter Obi gets underway today at the Supreme Court, I want to start this piece on a note of caution that the judiciary is the lifeline of any nation. This implies that even if everything else falls, the judiciary must remain standing. The dictum has not changed, irrespective of the ongoing grandstanding to enlist Nigerians to cast aspersions on the judiciary, it still remains the last hope of the common man.
Suffice to remind parties in this intractable electoral litigations that judges are not Father Christmas as has been famously and previously established. “No court in any clime is a Father Christmas; so, no one can get what he or she didn’t ask for. Similarly, all matters are thoroughly analysed and considered based on their merits and not the faces that appear in court or sentiments that attempt to becloud the sense of reasoning.”
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi should be reminded that their mission at the Supreme Court is simply for a review of the judgment of September 6, 2023, in which the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) dismissed their petitions, and not to tender fresh evidence they failed to tender at the lower court. In which case, the Tinubu’s certificate Atiku ridiculed Nigeria and Nigerians to obtain from the Chicago State University is useless.
The whole process of obtaining the certificate was a huge mockery. Nigerians expected more from the former vice president but he disappointed them. He should have known better because he is a veteran politician and statesman. It is sad that it took the globally rated BBC, which conducted a fact-check of the allegations against Tinubu, to find out that they are baseless. The BBC concluded that the transcripts from CSU are genuine and that Tinubu, indeed, attended CSU, finished and obtained his certificate. Therefore, it is unlikely that Atiku will succeed in his appeal before the Supreme Court on the ground of Tinubu’s educational qualification.
Let me repeat what I said earlier, the Supreme Court is the highest court in Nigeria. It has the final say on all matters of law. However, the Supreme Court is not a Father Christmas. It cannot grant reliefs that were not sought at the lower court.
Atiku and Obi, the petitioners, did not raise the issue of Tinubu’s educational qualification in their petitions at the PEPC. Therefore, they cannot raise the issue for the first time in their appeals to the Supreme Court.
Even if Atiku and Obi had raised the issue of Tinubu’s educational qualification in their petitions at the PEPC, it is unlikely that they would have succeeded.
The Supreme Court will simply dwell on the September 6, 2023 judgment of PEPC that dismissed the petitions filed by Atiku and Obi. The tribunal had held that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of irregularities and fraud. Atiku and Obi also alleged that the election was marred by irregularities and fraud. However, they have failed to provide any credible evidence to support their allegations.
Atiku and Obi must stop toxic politics now because Nigeria needs ‘Renewed Hope’. Toxic politics is a form of political discourse characterised by personal attacks, insults and misinformation. It is a destructive force that undermines democracy and erodes public trust in government.
Nigeria has been plagued by toxic politics since the February 25 presidential election. The two main opposition candidates, Atiku and Obi, have refused to accept the results of the election and have made a number of unsubstantiated allegations of fraud.
This toxic behaviour is hurting Nigeria in a number of ways. It is deepening the divisions in society, polarising the political landscape, and making it difficult for government to function effectively. It is also discouraging foreign investment and harming the economy.
It is time Atiku and Obi to stopped their toxic politics and put the country first. They should accept the results of the election and congratulate the winner, Bola Tinubu. They should also work with the new government to build a better future for Nigeria.
Nigerians must reject toxic politics and consolidate their support for the Tinubu/Shettima renewed hope government. President Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima have a proven track record of success in government. They have a clear vision for Nigeria and a plan to achieve it.
Nigeria needs a government that is focused on uniting the country and solving its problems. Nigerians must give Tinubu and Shettima a chance to lead the country forward.
The duo of Atiku and Obi had approached PEPT on three grounds; that Tinubu was not qualified to run for the election because he did not possess the requisite educational qualification; that Tinubu was not duly elected because he did not win the majority of lawful votes cast in the election, and that the election was marred by irregularities and fraud. All these allegations fell like pack of cards when subjected to judicial scrutiny at the PEPC.
All said and done, I am confident that President Tinubu will once again come out victorious in the appeal before the Supreme Court. Atiku and Obi’s appeals are without merit and are likely to be dismissed by the court.
As a forensic intelligence expert, I can bet that till date, Atiku and Obi are yet to understand the word ‘forgery’. their lawyers cannot substantiate whether the document from Chicago State University were tampered with. Even the process of obtaining Tinubu’s certificate was mired in incompetence. Both national and international investigative firms have also discredited the procedure.
But let me reserve some crucial facts here till after the Supreme Court proceedings. Nigeria is for all and we will never allow a few narrow-minded individuals who benefited from the laws of our great country to cause mayhem. God bless our beloved country, Nigeria.
Ibrahim is director, Communications and Strategic Planning, Presidential Support Committee (PSC).