On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the nation’s highest judicial authority, declined the request made by Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to introduce new evidence in his case challenging the election victory of President Bola Tinubu in the presidential election held on February 25.
Justice Iyang Okoro delivered the judgment, stating that the deadline for presenting evidence had passed and could not be extended. The court emphasized that the 180-day timeframe allocated for hearing election petitions is fixed and cannot be prolonged. Consequently, the court rejected Atiku’s motion, stating that it did not meet the criteria for the admission of fresh evidence.
Atiku had sought to have the Supreme Court admit new documents related to President Bola Tinubu’s qualifications during a hearing held the previous Monday. The court underscored that Atiku had failed to procure fresh evidence for the trial, despite the fact that the certificate in question had been in the public domain for over a year.
The lead counsel for Atiku, Chris Uche, SAN, had implored the court to consider and grant their application, highlighting the gravity and constitutional significance of the issue concerning President Tinubu’s educational records from CSU, which Atiku sought to introduce as fresh evidence.
However, INEC’s lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud, and President Tinubu’s lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun, opposed Atiku’s application. Olanipekun argued that INEC should have been a party in the deposition proceedings in the United States and contended that the CSU depositions remained inactive until the deponent appeared in court to testify. He further asserted that the Supreme Court lacked original jurisdiction to hear the case and called on the court to reject the fresh evidence.
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