Abuja, Nigeria – Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 25, 2023, presidential election, has raised concerns over the delay in receiving the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC). Three days after the verdict was delivered, Atiku and his legal team are yet to obtain certified true copies (CTCs) of the judgment, prompting allegations of an attempt to hinder his pursuit of justice.
Atiku’s legal counsel formally applied to the court for CTCs immediately following the judgment’s delivery, but as of Friday, they remain unavailable, raising concerns about the impending 14-day deadline for filing an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Phrank Shaibu, the Special Assistant to Atiku on Public Communications, issued a statement, saying, “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 of its earlier emphasis on adhering to strict time schedules set by the court, pointing out that precious days within the 14-day limit for parties to file their processes at the Supreme Court have already been wasted.
He went on to express concerns about potential disqualification due to time constraints, drawing parallels with previous instances where testimonies were struck out due to filing delays. Shaibu argued, “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, in order to formulate its case for filing?”
Shaibu further questioned the timing of the judgment, alleging errors and typos that are still being corrected. He asked, “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 which text is still undergoing panel beating?”
In closing, he asserted, “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.” As the clock continues to tick, Atiku Abubakar’s quest for justice remains in limbo, awaiting the crucial judgment documents from the PEPC.