The Supreme Court, on Monday, stated that there are conflicting letters from the Chicago State University (CSU) on the certificate of President Bola Tinubu.
The Chairman of the seven-member panel of the apex court, Justice John Okoro, stated this during the hearing of the application of the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, filed against the victory of President Bola Tinubu.
Justice Okoro said one of the letters is authenticating the President’s certificate and another discrediting it.
The lead justice of the panel, therefore, said criminal matters have to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
“But in this case, there are two conflicting letters from the CSU – one authenticating the president’s certificate and another discrediting it. Which do we rely on?” he asked.
Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared President Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the February election, but his opponents went to court.
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal had struck out the appeals of Atiku and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, but they headed for the apex court, with Atiku asking to file extra evidence against Tinubu on alleged forgery.
Atiku had sought Tinubu’s academic record from Chicago State University so as to prove his allegation that the president submitted forged documents to INEC.
However, by the time the documents were released, the 180-day statutory period within which an election petition should be filed and determined had elapsed.
But Atiku asked the court to grant his appeal to tender fresh evidence, given the nature of the issue. Tinubu kicked against this, saying granting such would amount to abuse of the court process.
Atiku predicated his plea on the grounds that presenting forged documents by any candidate, especially by one for the highest office in the land, is a grave constitutional issue that must not be encouraged.
But Tinubu kicked the plea, arguing that the issue was a pre-election matter amongst others and subsequently prayed the court to deny the grant of the application.
While faulting Tinubu, Atiku submitted that issues of merit ought not to be determined or pronounced upon at the interlocutory stage.
The former vice president also pointed out that the presentation of a forged certificate disqualifies a candidate for all time, no matter when presented.