Nigeria’s apex court, the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the application by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar to file fresh evidence in his case against the declaration of President Bola Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
The Court held that it lacked jurisdiction to admit fresh evidence in the appeal of the judgment of the presidential election petition tribunal.
In a judgment read by Justice Iyang Okoro, the court said the time fixed for tendering of evidence has passed and cannot be extended.
“The 180 days imposed for hearing of election petitions is immutable and cannot be extended,” Okoro who is leading a panel of seven member said.
The apex said the motion could not be granted.
Atiku had urged the Supreme Court to admit fresh documents against President Bola Tinubu when the matter came last Monday.
The Court also said the motion by Atiku did not meet the criteria for admission of fresh evidence.
The apex court noted that the appellant failed to obtain fresh evidence for the trial even though the certificate was published over one year ago.
Speaking at the court on Monday, his lead counsel, Chris Uche, SAN, urged the court to adopt the application and grant their request.
He said, “The issue involving Mr Tinubu’s certificate is a weighty, grave, and constitutional one, which the Supreme Court should admit. I urge the court to admit the fresh evidence of President Tinubu’s academic records from CSU presented by Atiku.
He was however opposed by INEC lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud and the lead counsel to President Tinubu, Wole Olanipekun who urged the Supreme Court to dismiss Atiku’s application
Olanipekun argued that INEC should have been a party at the deposition proceedings in the US, noting that the CSU depositions are dormant until the deponent comes to court and testify.
According to Olanipekun, Atiku cannot present fresh evidence at the Supreme Court.
Olanipekun urged the Supreme Court to reject the fresh evidence as it has no original jurisdiction to hear the suit.