A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Christopher Oshomegie, has demystified reasons why Atiku Abubakar cannot unseat Bola Tinubu as the nation’s president based on an alleged certificate scandal.
The legal luminary argued that the apex court is legally not obliged to determine President Tinubu’s fate based on the findings from the Chicago State University, according to the Guardian.
He said that the Peoples Democratic Party presidential flagbearer’s effort will be in futility.
According to him: “It’s a voyage of discovery that leads nowhere because nothing beneficial or positive would come out of it. And it is equally based on an appearing ignorance of Electoral Litigation. Apart from the fact that it would appear to be one of these emerging negativity in our body politics, where people no longer have regard for the Judiciary.
“People are now doing all things possible to demean the judiciary and bring it down. These days you see people go to Court to argue their cases and immediately turn to the Television houses to argue the same case.
“This is an aberration. We were all witness to the epochal 12 2/3 legal battle between Awolowo and Shagari in 1979. The noble Advocate showed their dexterity in the Courts, not on Television. The revered G.O. K Ajayi, SAN Richard Akinjide, SAN & Co. were wonderful in the Court.
“There were no hoopla’s or cacophony in Television houses. The great Rotimi Williams, SAN, the Mudiagar Odjes, SAN, the Nwankama Okoros, SAN etc were beauty to behold in the acts of Electoral Litigation with nobility, candour and dignity in pure observance of ethical values. Now, we are in the days of intrusion of scoundrelism.
“Specifically to what I have said already, there is no certificate saga in the first place. But even assuming there is, which is not true, it is of no moment to our state of electioneering jurisprudence/litigation right now. It is of no use.
“Whatever any person or persons purports or claim to have obtained or procure from any space on this Earth or outside it regarding the issue of the Election Petition that is transiting to the Supreme Court is of no use. It is of no moment.
“This is because Electoral Litigation is statutorily governed and not left at large. It is a species created and procreated from Statutory provision that takes it out of the general realm. The reason why it is called sui generi.
“For the purpose of the unlearned and a fulfilment of our obligation to the society, let it be stated here in the clearest of manner that by virtue of the Electoral Act, 2022 even as those before it, an Election Petition must be filed within 21 (Twenty-One) days after the election.
“Further, it is mandatory that in so filing, you have to frontload all your grounds, complaints, documents however whatsoever by whatsoever name called along with the Petition so filed. After that 21 (Twenty-one) days, the doors and windows of alteration, amendment or addition of anything howsoever whatsoever to that Petition except for minor issues as spelling mistakes cannot be added.
” You cannot add or reduce from your election petition after Twenty-One days. The Courts equally have a Statutory period within which to attend to the Petition. The Courts cannot add an hour or half an hour or a minute after the hour stipulated by the statute to dispose of an Election Petition.
” If the time to dispose of the election petition has expired, anything done by the Court is null and void. The Appellate Court to which an Appeal will go from that Court will equally have no jurisdiction to do otherwise because the practice of Election Litigation and the jurisdiction of courts thereunder are statutorily regulated and compartmentalized.
“Therefore, the commodities or what is settled have been procured obtained and gotten from the United States of America and have no space or domicile in the Supreme Court. Put differently, what we are saying is that, as of today, there is no additional evidence however whatsoever that can be admitted, countenance by the Supreme Court in whatever guise.
“This is because there is no discretion in the matter. Am not unaware that in an exceptional situations in the general and ordinary civil matters that the Appellate Court may exercise discretion to accept new evidence. The Rules even in those instance are very stringent.
“But in electoral litigation that is statutory regulated, the issue of discretion in violation of the Statute is unknown. This is simply because the Courts are to give effect to laws and not emotions and selfish digestion.
“Let no one be deceived there is no discretion to be expected at the supreme court. There is nothing like that in this matter. Once you have fallen out of the statutory period, or you have failed to file and frontload all mandatory requirements in filing an election petition, there is nothing anybody can do.
” The Court of Appeal as court of first instance in Presidential Election Petition has already interface with the Appellant’s Petitions in all ramifications. It is only what is contained in that record from the court of appeal that shall speak and breathe at the supreme court. Nothing more, nothing less.
“So the Nigerian public should ask a simple question: What is the essence of all these hoopla? It is of no use. At times some people behave in the most funniest manner. Has anybody even bothered to look at the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? What is the basic requirement to be a President of Nigeria?
” By the constitution, all you need is evidence that you have a school leaving certificate. Not that you even pass the examination. That is what is needed. Again, if you don’t have that, you show evidence of cognate experience. That is all the requirement.
“It is for this reason that I was laughing in my quiet corner when people were talking of former President Buhari as to his qualification on ground of academic requirement. They forgot that the man rose to become a General in the Nigerian Army, became a military Governor, a Minister, military Head of state and yet, they were talking of whether he is qualified or not qualified.
“That was pure ignorance for the constitution is very clear. It is either you have school leaving certificate or cognate experience. In this scenario, they started by saying that the President didn’t go to Chicago state university. That he was not there as a student.
” The university came forward and asserted that he was their student who graduated with Honours. Is that not supposed to be the end of the matter? Is that not sufficient for any reasonable person? Yet we are still hearing noises. Remember the case of Governor Obaseki on whether he has a certificate from the University of Ibadan.
” University of Ibadan came to the court and said he was its student. That they issued him the certificate in issue after graduating. The court held and said that, that was the end of the matter. That no further inquiry can go beyond the assertion of University of Ibadan.
“That the issuer of the certificate having come and own up to it, the matter is concluded. In the same manner, Chicago State University have asserted that the president graduated with Honours. Then, now a sudden summersault to fishing for forgery where none exists. It is high time the Nigerian people demand that Nigeria should be spared this frivolities.
“The President worked and rose to top echelon in Mobile Oil Incorporated, a multinational. No jejune can work and rose in that manner there without any certificate as the President did. These people should think of that. That is something that should even give them a food for thought.
“The story was even told that even when President left Chicago State University, he was one of the best student if not the best. He had options of employment with International Accounting Firms but was guided by the institution to go to Mobile Oil Incorporated.
“He became a Senator, Governor of Lagos State and yet we are still talking of qualification. Is it to say we don’t have something to do? Or are these people idle?
So to answer you clearly, this certificate saga is a distraction. What is going on appear to be self masturbation.
” That is what is going on. There is nothing in it. It would never fly in Supreme Court. It is of no electoral litigation value to the matter in the supremes court. The windows and the doors are closed. There is no room for discretion.
“I am of the calm view that, these people are preparing the mind of the gullible public in view of the devastating failure that awaits them at the Supreme Court and then began to blame and hold the innocent hardworking Justices of the supreme court responsible and ridicule them.
“Nigerian should rise against this tendency that is manifesting in these political actors who don’t care what become of Nigeria as long as their selfish interest is not met. We must stop this act of trying to delegitimise the judiciary and render it null must stop.
“Finally, as for the Appeal to the Supreme Court by the Appellant devoid of this Chicago Certificate or forgery red herring I am happy about it. This is because, I want the Supreme Court to determine the Appeal from the Court of Appeal. So that the judgment from the Supreme Court shall serve as a codification of case laws on the Electoral Act, 2022 and establish and locus classicus.”