The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has lambasted the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general elections, Atiku Abubakar over the forgery allegation levelled against President Bola Tinubu
According to him, the Chicago State University certificate President Bola Tinubu submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission was secured from a third-party vendor.
The former chief spokesman of the dissolved Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council made the statement via his official X account on Sunday.
The development was coming after the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, filed new documents against Tinubu before the Supreme Court in which he accused the President of forgery and lying under oath, and should therefore be disqualified and removed from office.
The evidence filed by the former vice president was the academic records of Tinubu, which were handed over to him by the Chicago State University on Monday following the order of an Illinois court in the United States of America instructing the institution to release the academic records as requested by Atiku.
The PDP candidate had requested the documents for use in Nigerian courts to support his argument that Tinubu forged a certificate he claimed to have obtained from the CSU in 1979 and submitted to the country’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, for the 2023 presidential election.
But Keyamo insisted that all the sentiments and allegations of forgery being peddled around the president’s credentials were baseless, adding that it was the duty of Atiku and his supporters to get the undisclosed vendor that issued the replacement certificate to deny its authenticity.
He said, “I have been a defence and prosecution lawyer at the highest level in criminal trials for more than 30 years. You cannot allege or prove forgery except the purported maker of the document denies its authenticity or there is uncontradicted evidence of a forensic report that categorically says the document was deliberately altered or concocted by the person who uttered (in a legal sense) or issued it.
“Applying this principle to the case of Atiku Abubakar Vs Chicago State University, so long as the university openly said they do not issue replacement certificates. But (added) that vendors do so on their behalf. All these noise about so-called forgery are useless until the particular vendor that issued the replacement certificate to Tinubu denies its authenticity. And it is the duty of the accuser to fish out the said vendor and get that evidence. It is not the other way around. He who alleges must prove.”
According to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, it was the same basic principle he deployed in defence of former President Muhammed Buhari when a similar scenario played out during his tenure.
While reiterating that Tinubu has no case to answer, Keyamo sarcastically urged Atiku to quietly bow out of politics.
“This is the simple principle I laid down in 2019 during our defence of President Buhari that has been so mischievously celebrated as if they have hit the bull’s eye. Unfortunately for them, Tinubu is as clean and white as snow on this issue and we are again waiting for them at the Supreme Court.
“As for Atiku Abubakar (the famed SPV king and the one who disgraced Nigeria internationally with the money-laundering case involving Congressman William Jefferson), we acknowledge the valedictory speech he delivered a few days ago signifying his retirement from politics and we wish him Godspeed in that retirement,” he stated.
Appeal Court Sacks Nasarawa speaker
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has sacked the Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Hon. Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a judgement delivered on Tuesday, the court declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Hon. Sa’ad Abdullahi Ibrahim (Turakin-Opanda), as the rightful winner of the election for Umaisha/Ugya State Constituency.
Appeal Court affirms Hyacinth Alia’s victory as Benue Governor
The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, on Monday, upheld the election of Hyacinth Alia as declared by INEC after the March 18th, 2023 election as governor of Benue State
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the March 18 governorship election, Titus Uba, had approached the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the tribunal that upheld Alia’s election.
At the tribunal, Uba accused Alia’s deputy, Samuel Ode, of presenting a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) contrary to Section 182(1)(j) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)
He also alleged that Alia’s name was submitted less than 180 days before the election date, and Ode was also not submitted to INEC after the party conducted a further re-run primary election.
A three-member panel of the tribunal, headed by Justice Ibrahim Karaye, dismissed the petition on the ground that it was a pre-election matter and was statute-barred.
Ruling on the appeal on Monday, the appeal court’s three-member panel led by Justice Onyekachi Aja Otisi held that Uba failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the allegations of forgery against Ode
As long as God remains on the throne our mandate will be preserved, says Mutfwang
Plateau Governor, Caled Mutfwang spoken with confidence that as long as God remains on the throne, the people’s mandate will be preserved and protected as he reiterated his commitment to the rule of law, while assuring the people that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Mutfwang who was reacting to the Appeal Court judgement that sacked him on Sunday described the verdict as a temporary setback that will not deter him from repositioning the state.
“We have unwavering faith in the judiciary and the Constitution of Nigeria,” he added.
The Governor said he has instructed his legal team to file an appeal at the Supreme Court, admonishing citizens of the state and PDP supporters to remain calm.
Mutfwang gave the indication in a press statement signed by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Gyang Bere, expressed optimism that the mandate overwhelmingly given to him by the citizens would be restored.
Mutfwang polled 525,299 votes in the March 18 governorship election in the state, while Goshwe polled 481,370 votes.
Goshwe challenged the victory of Mutfwang at the tribunal, claiming that the Governor was not validly nominated and sponsored by his Party, insisting there was non-compliance with the Electoral Act in the election.
In a unanimous decision, a three-member panel of the tribunal headed by Justice R. Irele-Ifijeh dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.
Displeased with the judgment, the APC candidate appealed the tribunal judgment.
The appellate court ruling on Sunday, led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, held that the PDP did not validly sponsor the Governor during the election.
She held that the Party violated a court order to conduct a valid Congress in that state’s 17 Local Government Areas.
She said there was no evidence that the PDP complied with a subsisting High Court order which had directed it to conduct a valid party congress before sponsoring the governorship and other candidates.
The court held that the issue of qualification is both a pre-election and a post-election matter contrary to the tribunal’s findings, which held that the appellant lacked the locus to contest the validity of the respondent.
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