…trashed Atiku’s fresh evidence

…INEC determines mode of results transmission

…FCT 25% votes immaterial

By Vivian Okejeme Abuja

The Supreme Court, has finally laid to rest the legal fireworks contesting against the emergence of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu as the winner of the 2023 President election.

The Apex Court, Thursday, upheld the verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Court(PEPC) and thrown out the separate appeals instituted by former Vice President and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the Peter Obi of the Labour Party against Tinubu.

Leave to file fresh evidence

In the judgement, the Seven-man panel of the court, led by Justice Inyang Okoro, dismissed the Atiku’s motion seeking leave of court to file fresh evidence in his appeal against Tinubu’s victory in the February 25, presidential election.

The Petitioner pleaded the apex court to grant him leave to bring in additional evidence by way of depositions on oath from the Chicago State University for use in his appeal to wit: 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.

The motion dated 5th October but filed on the 6th, contained a 32-page deposition released to the former Vice President on the orders of Judge Nancy Maldonado of the District Court of Illinois, Eastern Division, Illinois, United States of America.

Ruling on the motion, Justice John Inyang Okoro, held that a clinical look at the issues formulated by all the parties, it is clear that the argument is whether this court as presently constituted has the power to grant the motion.

According to the panel, out of the 7 issues distilled by Atiku for determination, none related or covered forgery, which the appellant is seeking to bring in.

It maintained that the Constitution does not permit that, and this court has no jurisdiction to grant the filing of fresh evidence that was not pleaded at the PEPC.

It noted that Atiku did not even deem it fit to file for an amendment of his pleadings and for extension of time, since the 180 days allowed by the Constitution had elapsed since September 17, 2023.
On none electronic transmission of election results.

None transmission of results electronically.

Apex Court declined to annulled Tinubu’s victory, on the ground that the failure by the Independent National Electoral Commission to transmit election results electronically did not affect the outcome of the election and could not warrant the nullification of the result of the presidential election.
It noted that the Electoral Act empowers INEC to determine the mode of transmission of election results.

The justice said the appellants failed to prove noncompliance with the electoral law but relied solely on INEC’s inability to electronically transmit the election results to the INEC Results Viewing (IReV) portal.

“I agree with the lower court that the failure of INEC to electronically transmit the results does not affect the collation of results,” Justice Okoro said.

25% FCT votes

Ruling on the ground of no 25% FCT votes, the court upheld the ruling of the Tribunal that a candidate does Not need to get at least 25% FCT (Federal Capital Territory) votes to be declared as the country’s president.

Therefore, the court described the ground as immaterial, non issue.
While Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP)’s Peter Obi had wanted Tinubu’s win in February 2023 to be nullified on the ground that he did not get 25% FCT votes, the Appeal Court ruled that their petition was immaterial.

Obi’s appeal

In the lead judgement that was delivered by Justice Inyang Okoro, the court held that issues Obi raised in his case were already decided in a separate appeal that was filed by the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

On the issue that the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, had double nominations from the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The court held that it had earlier decided the issue on May 26, in an appeal marked: SC/CV/501/2023.

“This court cannot allow the matter to be relitigated in this court. There must be an end to litigation. This matter ought not to have come here.

“The appeal lacks merit and it is accordingly dismissed,” the apex court held.

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