Equity will always aide the vigilant. What if it’s the guilty that is vigilant? Do we turn to blame equity for aiding the guilty who is vigilant instead of the man who has been indolent and slept on his right?
Atiku Abubaka wanted to challenge irregularities/ discrepancies in the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s academic record. Why did he not go for the evidence when he had the time to make it part of his evidence at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal? He wrote Chicago University late and got what probably would have been his star evidence at a time his trial was already concluded.
When a matter leaves trial, it goes on appeal. The trial level of litigation is the point where evidence are adduced and tendered. At appeal, what was tendered and how they were interpreted and used in judgment is reviewed to assess whether the trial judge or Justices followed laid down procedures to arrive at the right decision. It is not a time where fresh evidence can be adduced except it can be shown that such evidence never existed at the time of the trial.
At the time that Atiku Abubaka who came second at the Presidential poll went to Court challenging the victory of Bola Ahmed Tinubu on grounds that he was not qualified to run, was the transcript of Tinubu’s result from Chicago State University not available? Yes, it existed just that Atiku Abubaka did not think it necessary to apply and secure it as evidence.
The Court will not set aside it procedure to accommodate the indolence or negligence of any litigant who failed to package his matter properly.
The best election petition lawyer does not start packing evidence on the day of the election he is challenging. He starts preparing his case and gathering his evidence long before INEC even issues guideline for the election. The evidence he gathers at the field on the day of election and at INEC are the building blocks on a foundation of evidence earlier gathered to make a good case. A candidate who understands that if he cannot win at the field through the ballot, he can win at the court on technicality, thinks ahead and sets up his legal team the same time he sets his campaign team and her various organs like Media, Security, Mobilisation teams.
From my point of view, Atiku Abubaka missed it. In analysing the Judgment of the Supreme Court which dismissed his appeal, let us appreciate these points.
My next Ministry is the Judiciary. Let no man destroy it after he has not done what he ought to have done. When you get it right, it becomes a duty of the court to rule in your favor. When you leave certain things undone or done wrongly, you leave the court with a discretion which can be exercised in favor of technicality and few who don’t understand will scream that the judiciary is corrupt.
A lawyer and he who has a matter have big roles to play in helping the court to do justice to their matter. When they fail, they should admit that they failed themselves and not that the judiciary is bad.
I congratulate His Excellency, Ahmed Bola Tinubu over this victory. It’s is a battle long fought, the victory is deserving.