Anxiety looms as the Supreme Court prepares to commence the hearing of appeals filed by Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi, and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM).
These appeals seek to overturn the victory of President Bola Tinubu in the presidential election held on February 25. The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal had previously upheld Tinubu’s victory, prompting the appellants to approach the Supreme Court.
Atiku, Obi, and the APM filed separate appeals at the apex court, aiming to nullify the outcome of the election. The Supreme Court officially communicated the hearing date to all concerned parties last Thursday.
Contention and Additional Evidence:
Atiku and Obi have expressed dissatisfaction with the tribunal’s verdict and have submitted fresh evidence to support their claims. Atiku, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has requested permission to present academic records from the Chicago State University (CSU), USA. He alleges that these records prove Tinubu submitted a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Furthermore, Atiku is seeking a court order from Washington, D.C., to release documents related to Tinubu’s $460,000 forfeiture case.
In response, President Tinubu, representing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has urged the Supreme Court to disregard the CSU academic records presented by Atiku. He argues that this evidence is irrelevant to the judicial proceedings and not part of the tribunal’s judgment. Tinubu’s legal team, led by Wole Olanipekun, SAN, contends that the discrepancies in Tinubu’s credentials, as claimed by Atiku, are baseless and concocted by the PDP candidate.
Concerns and Legal Opinion:
There are concerns regarding the admission of fresh evidence by the Supreme Court. However, legal practitioner Mathew Abakpa of Rivers State believes that the court has the legal authority to consider the new evidence. He suggests that while the admission of evidence may be possible, the court’s decision on how to proceed with it remains uncertain.
As the Supreme Court prepares to hear the appeals by Atiku, Obi, and the APM against President Tinubu’s victory, anxiety permeates the political landscape. The inclusion of fresh evidence, including alleged forgery and a forfeiture case, adds complexity to the proceedings.
The outcome of the hearing and the Supreme Court’s decision on the admission and consideration of new evidence remain pivotal factors in determining the future of the presidential election result.