The People’s Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has asked the Supreme Court to hold that the judgment of the Presidential Election Petitions Court dismissing his petition against the election of President Bola Tinubu was allegedly coated with disparaging words and bias against his person.
Atiku said expressions against his petition, such as “clever by half,” amount to a violation of his right to a fair hearing and a grave miscarriage of justice.
The five-man panel of the PEPC led by Justice Haruna Tsammani had, in a unanimous decision about 15 days ago, faulted Atiku’s legal team for failing to provide credible evidence showing that he won the February 25 presidential election with a majority of lawful votes cast.
But Atiku’s legal team, led by Chris Uche, SAN, filed 35 grounds of appeal at the Supreme Court.
In his 34th ground of appeal, Uche contended that the choice of words and expressions by the lower court shows the lower court’s contempt and disdain for 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.