Three days after delivering its judgment on the petition by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), challenging the outcome of the February 25 presidential election, the Court of Appeal has yet to provide lawyers to Atiku and PDP the certified true copies of their judgment.
Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the PDP in the February 2023 Presidential election, in a statement in Abuja, lamented that withholding certified true copies of the judgement from the petitioners will undermine his and Nigerians’ quest for justice.
Atiku, who has already mandated his legal team to file an appeal at the Supreme Court, also described the action of the Court of Appeal as “anti-democratic”
This is coming as Atiku and his lawyers have just 14 days to file their appeal to the Supreme Court on the judgment.
The statement, which was signed by the Special Assistant to Atiku on Public Communications, Phrank Shaibu, also noted that the tribunal action will reduce the time allowed the petitioners lawyers to study and note relevant sections that will determine their grounds of appeal to the nation’s Supreme Court.
Recall that the PDP candidate had on Thursday, mandated his legal team to take critical look at the judgement, with the view to challenging the decision of the five man tribunal.
This followed the decision of the tribunal judges to uphold the ekection of the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, President Bola Tinubu, as the winner of the February 25 Presidential election.
“By not making available to Atiku Abubakar, Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, the certified true copies of the judgment of Wednesday for its filings at the Supreme Court, the Presidential Election Petition Court, is undermining Atiku’s and Nigerians quest for justice.”
Shaibu reminded the PEPC that “it had made heavy weather at the delivery of its judgment on Wednesday that parties need to adhere strictly to the schedule set by the court.”
He noted that “the PEPC is not oblivious that the Appeal Court has wasted three precious days of the 14-day limit for parties to file their processes at the highest court.
“We wish to remind the PEPC that it struck out the testimonies of some of the witnesses of Atiku during the litigation at the court of first instance because their statements on oath were filed out of time.
“And now, for all intents and purposes, the same court wants to have Atiku and PDP’s appeal to the Supreme Court disqualified because of time deadline.
“Does the PEPC not understand that the lawyers representing Atiku/PDP need to digest the judgment as contained in the CTC, which represents the authentic pronouncements made in court on Wednesday, to formulate its case for filing?” Shaibu queried.
He said that “there can be no justification for the PEPC not making available the CTC of its so-called judgement for Atiku to continue with his quest on behalf of over 200 million Nigerians for substantial justice as opposed to the judgement rendered by the PEPC.
“It is curious that the same PEPC that claimed that the judgement was ready as at the time it was delivered on Wednesday is still grappling with typos and errors, according to available information. Why did the PEPC not wait till next week to deliver the judgment as it would still have met the legal deadline instead of rushing to render a judgment in which the text is still undergoing panel beating?
“It is anti-democratic of the court to steal, already at the last count, 3 precious days out of the 14-day time limit for Atiku to file his processes at the Supreme Court. The lost time would never be recovered,” he said.