By Goodluck Ikiebe
The Supreme Court in Nigeria has upheld the victory of President Bola Tinubu in the February 25 Presidential election.
The apex court in its ruling dismissed the appeals by the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart Peter Obi.
In the instant case just delivered, the court held that Atiku failed to prove that he won the election, stating that there was no alternative figure of votes to counter that validly declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Supreme Court said it could not manufacture votes in support of Atiku and PDP.
The apex court dismissed all the grounds of appeal of Atiku and PDP on qualification, non-compliance with the Electoral Act, the 25% votes in FCT, and electoral malpractices.
Justice Okoro stated that since all the seven issues had been resolved against Atiku and PDP, the election of President Tinubu was affirmed.
The Supreme Court declared that the failure of IREV was not a ground for the nullification of Presidential election.
The court held that IREV failure did not stop the collation of the election results.
The Supreme Court stated that the failure by INEC 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.
Justice John Okoro made the pronouncements in a lead judgment on the appeal by former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, seeking to nullify the February 25, Presidential election of President Bola Tinubu.
Reading the judgment, Justice Okoro had also declared that failure to secure 25% of votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja was not a basis for a candidate not to have been declared winner of the Presidential election.
Justice Okoro declared that the constitution was for everyone.
The justice stated that the constitution would have stated expressly that Presidential candidate must win 25% of votes cast in FCT to be declared as President.
But the provision of the constitution, he said, did not give room for such.
The failure of President Bola Tinubu to secure 25% of votes in FCT was one of the grounds of appeal against Tinubu’s victory.
The apex court had earlier dismissed the appeal filed by Atiku Abubakar on the admission of fresh evidence.
The apex court held that it lacked jurisdiction to admit fresh evidence in the appeal of the judgment of the Presidential election petition court [PEPC]
Justice Okoro said it could not revoke the constitution to allow Atiku and PDP to supply fresh evidence in the form of documents obtained from the Chicago State University on President Bola Tinubu’s academic records.
Justice Okoro noted that since the time for trial at the Court of Appeal had elapsed, the Supreme Court could not accept fresh evidence on appeal.
Ruling on the motion, Justice Okoro, held that a clinical look at the issues formulated by all the parties is the argument of whether the court as presently constituted had the power to grant the motion.
Okoro held that out of the seven issues distilled by Atiku for determination, none related or covered forgery, which the appellant was seeking to bring in.
“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,” the Justice held.
The Supreme Court 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.
Atiku, had in the motion dated October 5, 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 32-page deposition was 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.
All the Seven Justices agreed to the ruling while at the same time dismissing Obi’s appeal against the Tribunal judgement.
Our Correspondent reports that the latest ruling has put to rest all matters relating to the 2023 Presidential Election held on February 25th in 36 States of the Federation including FCT.