Supreme Court Reserves Judgment On Atiku, Obi’s Appeal Against President Tinubu
The Supreme Court of Nigeria has reserved judgment on the Appeals filed by the Presidential candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and his counterpart of Labour Party (LP) Mr. Peter Obi against the February 25 Presidential elections.
Justice Inyang Okoro who led the seven-man panel of justices informed counsels after adopting their addresses that the date for the judgment will be communicated to them.
Atiku and Obi both are challenging the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court PEPC which upheld the election of President Bola Tinubu.
At the hearing on Monday, counsel to Atiku and PDP, Mr. Chris Uche SAN, submitted application seeking an order granting him leave “to produce and for the court to receive fresh and additional evidence by way of deposition on oath from the Chicago State University for use in this appeal.”
That is, the certified discovery deposition made by Caleb Westberg on behalf of Chicago State University on October 3, 2023, disclaiming the certificate presented by the 2nd respondent, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Uche said, “We are praying for an order of leave to present fresh evidence on appeal pursuant to the powers of the Supreme Court, particularly the depositions on oath from the Chicago State University.
Adumbrating after moving the motion, Atiku’s lawyer told the panel that Tinubu, APC and INEC are opposing the application “essentially on technical grounds, not pleaded and coming late.”
Uche argued that the motion was akin to jurisdictional issue not minding when it was filed, adding that the apex court should side-step technicality and grant the request.
He insisted that the motion is a constitutional issue, adding that the issue of 180 days cannot tie the hands of the apex court as they can hear the motion.
Reacting, the INEC lawyer said section 285 of the Constitution should be interpreted to accommodate the Court of Appeal as a Tribunal.
On his part, counsel to Tinubu, Wole Olanipekun asked the court to dismiss the “unusual application for lacking in merit.”
Tinubu’s Lawyer said the depositions Atiku is seeking to tender “are not admissible in USA. It is akin to depositions which we have here in Nigeria. The depositions were not done in a court.”
Meanwhile, Obi and the LP, through their lawyers led by Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, urged the court to uphold the appeal and set aside the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, that dismissed their petition.
Obi and the LP further faulted the PEPC for dismissing their case on the ground that, they did not specify the figures of votes or scores that were allegedly suppressed or inflated in favour of President Tinubu and the APC.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), President Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC), through their respective lawyers, prayed the court to dismiss the appeal for want of merit.
After listening to their arguments, Justice Inyang Okoro announced that, the Apex court will communicate date for judgment to parties.