- APM’s Appeal Against Tinubu Thrown Out
FORMER Vice President and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has urged the Supreme Court to allow fresh documents against President Bola Tinubu.
His lead counsel, Mr Chris Uche, SAN, while speaking at the court on Monday, described the matter as a grave and constitutional matter.
He urged the court to admit the application and grant Atiku’s prayers.
“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. The Supreme Court must take a look at Mr Tinubu’s records and reach a decision devoid of technicality,” Mr Uche argued.
However, INEC’s lawyer, Mr Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, urged the Supreme Court to dismiss Atiku’s application seeking to present Tinubu’s academic records, while Tinubu’s lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, argued that INEC should have been a party at the deposition proceedings in the US.
He noted that the CSU’s depositions are dormant until the deponent comes to court and testify. He argued that Atiku cannot seek fresh evidence at the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed by the Allied Peoples Movement, (APM) challenging the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) which affirmed President Bola Tinubu’s victory.
Justice Inyang Okoro, leading six other justices of the apex court, dismissed the appeal saying that hearing it would amount to “a waste of the precious time of the court”.
The APM had in the appeal prayed the court to hold that the PEPC misconceived the material facts before it, when it struck out its undefended petition against Tinubu’s victory.
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The party asked the court to hold that the withdrawal of Kabiru Masari from the race, by operation of law, amounted to automatic withdrawal and invalidation of the candidature of Tinubu as the presidential candidate of the APC.
It would be recalled that Masari was named the running mate of Tinubu before he was replaced by Vice President Kashim Shetima
The APM said in its brief of argument by its counsel, Mr Chukwuma-Machukwu-Ume, SAN, that the PEPC wrongly struck out its petition.
The party prayed the court to set aside the decision of the lower court as being misconceived.
APM also argued that the striking out of Masari’s name from its petition and its consequent dismissal on September 6 was in error, as Masari was a necessary party in the petition.
The PEPC had dismissed APM’s petition based on pre-hearing motions filed by INEC, APC and Shettima.
According to the APM, the grounds upon which its petition was predicated was that Tinubu was at the time of the presidential election, not qualified to contest in line with Section 134(1)(a) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
Machukwu-Ume told the court that the PEPC misconceived the material facts and case of his client and wrongly progressed to determine issues not contemplated by the appellant’s petition and erroneously dismissed the petition.
However, efforts by Machukwu-Ume to move the appeal were rejected by the panel on the grounds that moving it would amount to wasting the precious time of the court.
Justice Inyang Okoro, the presiding justice, insisted that the appeal be withdrawn since the issue had been decided.
“We have read your appeal and the issues raised therein. You are not asking us to make your candidate the president if your appeal succeeds. You just want to state the law and go home, without benefit. We have other appeals that are substantial and withdrawing this appeal will help reduce the workload on us.
“We have read the appeal and are unanimous that it is a non-issue, having been pronounced upon by this court,” Justice Okoro said.
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Machukwu-Ume, though reluctantly, accepted and withdrew the appeal on behalf of his client, the APM.
All the respondents did not oppose to the withdrawal and did not ask for cost. The seven-member panel consequently dismissed the appeal after it was withdrawn by the appellant. (NAN)