The Supreme Court has described the attempt by the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar to present fresh evidence at the appellate level in his case against the election of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a joke.
The Supreme Court panel while ruling on the motion filed by Atiku Abubakar to admit what it described as “fresh evidence proving certificate forgery by President Bola Tinubu as contained in the deposition by the Registrar of Chicago State University, Caleb Westberg”, stated that it cannot accept fresh evidence at this level since Atiku failed to raise it at the lower court.
The Supreme Court therfore declared the evidence inadmissible stating that the attempt to bring in a belated certificate forgery allegation by Atiku at the appellate level should be seen at best as “a friendly joke” from Atiku.
The panel ruled that the application to file fresh evidence runs foul of the provisions of the Electoral Act that prohibits the amendment of an election petition 21 days after the filing of the election petition before the Tribunal.
The Supreme Court also pointed out that an election tribunal shall determine its judgement within 180 days of filing of petition and therefore the court of appeal lost that jurisdiction after 180 days and that the Supreme Court cannot activate section 22 of the Supreme Court Act after 180 days has lapsed at the lower court.
The Supreme Court furthered ruled that even if the fresh evidence were to be considered, there are no current basis to admit the fresh evidence because the applicant did not plead forgery in their petition neither did they apply for amendment of their petition at the lower court, so there is no pleading upon which the fresh evidence sought to be presented could be predicated.
The Supreme Court wondered why the appellant waited until after the expiration of the election tribunal before filing new evidence noting that it simply shows that the appellants were tardy and did not make a diligent effort to obtain their evidence.
“A petitioner can not amend its petition after the 21 days allocated for filing petition has lapsed in line with section 134(7) of the electoral act.
“The application for fresh evidence cannot be granted. We do not have jurisdiction and there is no pleading or issue for determination in this appeal on allegation or forgery”, the Supreme Court ruled.