Justice Inyang Okoro is leading six other justices of the Supreme Court to hear the motion filed by the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) in the Feb. 25, presidential election, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku seeking leave to file fresh evidence against President Bola Tinubu.
Other justices on the seven-man panel are Justice Uwani Abaji, Justice Lawal Garba, Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, Justice Adamu Jauro, Justice Tijani Abubakar, and Justice Emma Agim.
Atiku and the PDP are seeking an order granting them leave to produce and for the court to receive fresh and additional evidence by way of deposition on oath from the Chicago State University.
This is for use in this appeal to wit: the certified discovery deposition made by Caleb Westberg on behalf of Chicago State University on Oct. 3, disclaiming the certificate presented by President Bola Tinubu to the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC).
At Monday’s sitting, counsel to the appellants was Mr Chris Uche, SAN, Mr Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN appeared for INEC, who is the 1st respondent.
Mr Wole Olanipekun SAN, announced appearance for President Tinubu, the second respondent while Mr Akin Olujimi SAN, represented the All Progressives Congress, (APC), the 3rd respondent.
Uche told the apex court that his client was seeking leave to file new evidence in support of his case.
“By the motion seeking permission dated Oct.5 and filed on Oct. 6, 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,” Uche said.
Uche further told the panel that Tinubu, APC and INEC were opposing the application essentially on technical grounds of the the evidence not being pleaded and coming late.
He argued that the motion was akin to jurisdictional issue not minding when it was filed, adding that the apex court should side-step technicalities and grant the request.
Atiku’s counsel held that the motion was a constitutional issue, adding that the issue of 180 days could not tie the hands of the apex court as they could hear the motion.
Responding, INEC’s lawyer said Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution should be interpreted to accommodate the Court of Appeal as a Tribunal.
For his part, Olanipekun asked the court to dismiss what he described as an “unusual application” for lacking in merit.
Olanipekun argued that the Court of Appeal was a Tribunal based on relevant constitutional provisions, adding that the 180 days was like a rock of Gibraltar and it could not be moved as it was sacrosanct.
For his part, counsel to the APC, asked the court to reject the motion seeking leave to bring additional fresh evidence as it was alien in law.
It was reported that Atiku is before the court challenging the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court, (PEPC) which affirmed the election of President Bola Tinubu.
The the Labour Party and it’s presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi as well the Allied Peoples Movement, (APM) are also challenging the judgment of the PEPC before the apex court.
It was also reported that although the three petition were consolidated, the appeals would be heard separately.