Tribunal: Tinubu’s Lawyers, Atiku Fight Over President’s Team’s ‘imprint on certified copies’


Ahead of the battle between President Bola Tinubu, former VP Atiku Abubakar and Mr Peter Obi at the Supreme Court over the February 25 presidential election, the President’s legal team, yesterday, denied the allegation that certified copies of the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, which were made available to all the parties by the Registry of the court on Friday, had their imprint on them.

But Atiku and his legal team vigorously demanded explanation on the imprint, directing their demand to the PEPC.

The court had, on Wednesday, upheld Tinubu as the valid winner of the presidential election.

Whereas Tinubu contested the poll on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku vied on the aegies of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while Obi was the candidate of Labour Party (LP).

Atiku and Obi rejected the court verdict and vowed to appeal at the Supreme Court.

Atiku followed up with a claim on Friday that his efforts to obtain the certified true copy of the PEPC judgement were being frustrated, saying he needed it to file appeal at the apex court. He and Obi have 14 days to file the appeal.

The Tinubu Presidential Legal Team, TPLT, in a statement by its Coordinator, Babatunde Ogala, SAN, described the allegation that the certified copies had its imprint, a claim that gained traction on social media, as the handiwork of mischief makers.

Ogala explained that lawyers representing the PDP and its presidential candidate were at the Registry of the court when certified copies of the PEPC judgment were handed to the parties.

According to him, upon receipt of the judgment, Tinubu’s legal team water-marked its own copy before circulating it to its members.

He said: “Following some mischievous insinuations being made in certain quarters regarding the innocuous water-mark of copies of the consolidated judgment of the Court of Appeal with the inscription -‘Tinubu Presidential Legal Team ‘TPLT’, it is has become necessary to offer this clarification.

“After the delivery of judgment in the 3 (Three) election petitions by the Court of Appeal on September 6, 2023, the Court directed its registry to make physical copies of same available on September 7, 2023.

“Accordingly, the Tinubu Presidential Legal Team applied for a certified true copy of the said judgment and paid the prescribed fee.

“Lawyers for PDP were present at the registry at the same time to collect the same judgment.

“In fact, the representative of the PDP collected the first copy that was made available by the registry.

“On collecting our own copy, we immediately scanned and water-marked with the inscription – “Tinubu Presidential Legal Team ‘TPLT'” before circulating the scanned soft copies to the lawyers in our team.

“The certified true copies issued to us and other parties in the petitions by the registry do not contain the said inscription and any insinuation to the contrary is untrue.

“Counsel to the petitioners will also appreciate the fact that the insinuations being circulated in some quarters are untrue, unkind, unfair, and unfortunate, as they have the same certified copies of the judgment as we have.”


Querying what they described as the presence of the water mark of the Tinubu team on the certified copies of the PEPC judgment, Atiku and his team demanded explanations from the court over the “unconventional development”.

Spokesperson for the Atiku team, Phrank Shaibu, made the demand in a statement in Abuja.

Shaibu noted that it was curious that after causing needless delay in availing the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku and his legal team certified true copies of its judgment, the court should explain what happened to Nigerians.

He said, “It is not our intention to stir up controversy on the matter, but it is very important that the PEPC should tell Nigerians why they chose to affix the header of the Respondents on the CTC copy of their judgment, whereas the copies that went to the petitioners did not have the same.

“Was that because the Tinubu Legal Team is deemed to be accorded special privileges? The court must explain!

“It is very clear that there are many questions begging for answers, including why the PEPC came to the decision to avail the Respondents, especially the Tinubu Legal Team to have a first receipt of the CTC of the judgment before the Plaintiffs.

“The curiosity is more confounding based on the fact that the lead counsel to Atiku and the PDP had pleaded in the open court to have express receipt of the judgment, to which Justice Haruna Tsammani agreed to and promised to make the document available the following day, which was Thursday.

“Nigerians want to know why the PEPC confers special privileges to the Tinubu Legal Team by making them have a first custody of copies of the PEPC judgment, even though it was more urgent for the Petitioners who needed the document in order to cause an appeal to the Supreme Court within 14 days including weekends.

“In the course of delivering its judgement, the PEPC had spoken of the petition it was ruling upon in a vexatious and denigrating language as if it was a crime to bring a case of electoral banditry before the court.

“However, unfolding developments after the court’s ruling elicit suspicions about whether or not the Tinubu Legal Team provided clerical services to the PEPC.

“Otherwise, how and when did the ‘Tinubu Presidential Legal Team’ creep into a document that was supposed to be the official document of the Court of Appeal of Nigeria.”

He further said, “We need to restate that the ‘Tinubu Presidential Legal Team’ on the top left-hand corner of all the 798 pages is neither a monochrome nor a metadata.

” It is actually a header meaning that except for a valid explanation, the Tinubu Presidential Legal Team is the originator of the document.

“For the purposes of clarity, “a header is text that is placed at the top of a page, while a footer is placed at the bottom of a page.

“Typically, these areas are used for inserting information such as the name of the document, the chapter heading, page numbers, creation date, and the like.”


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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