President Bola Tinubu has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss an appeal filed by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the outcome of the 2023 presidential election.
Tinubu’s lawyers, in a 42-page brief of argument, urged the apex court to affirm the decision of the Court of Appeal, which had dismissed Atiku and the PDP’s petition.
Tinubu’s lawyers argued that Atiku and the PDP failed to prove their allegations of irregularities and non-compliance with the Electoral Act. They also said that Atiku and the PDP’s fresh evidence, which includes Tinubu’s academic records from Chicago State University, is inadmissible.
Tinubu through his lawyers accused Atiku and the PDP of making “hyperbolic allegations” that are not supported by facts.
He said: “Starting from the allegation of non-qualification of the Respondent, all that the Appellants submitted to the lower court through their petition was that the 2nd Respondent (Tinubu) was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the election not having the constitutional threshold.”
He told the Supreme Court that Atiku and his party failed to explain what they meant by “constitutional threshold” till all the Respondents in the matter were done with filing of their replies to the petition.
“It was at this point that they rolled out their drums of cooked up allegations of discrepancies in the 2nd Respondent’s academic qualifications, dual nationality and sundry bemusing allegations from the backdoor.
“While they also claimed to have won the highest number of votes cast at the election, as against INEC’s declaration, throughout their petition, they did not suggest an alternative score which they considered correct, whether for themselves or the Respondent.
“Though they had alleged that the election was riddled with non-compliance and corrupt practices, the paragraphs of their petition putting up these allegations were nothing short of vague, imprecise, generic and nebulous.
“For these allegations which ought to have been specifically demonstrated through facts and figures like polling units and numbers, the Appellants, through their petition, chose to regale the lower court and the Respondents with breath taking suspense, by stating that the said facts will be disclosed in their statistician’s report which was not part of the petition filed.
“It is only commonsensical that the Respondents will only be able to respond to the facts in the petition and not on the crucial, albeit anticipated statistician’s report, since even the devil himself knows not the heart of man.”
Continuing, President Tinubu told the apex court that out of 27 witnesses that Atiku called, 13 of them did not have their witness statements front-loaded with the petition.
“With these, it was obvious that the Appellants did not intend to prosecute a petition, but rather, to venture into some form of blockbuster, laced with thrilling suspense, stunning surprises and ecstatic hide and seek recreational activities; and these necessitated series of objections from the Respondents, challenging the competence of the petition, as well as the itemised nebulous paragraphs of same, the statement on oath of these subpoenaed witnesses, which were not front-loaded with the petition and tons of documents sought to be tendered, which were either irrelevant or unconforming to the mandatory rules of admissibility.”
President Tinubu told the Apex court that Atiku’s claim of non-transmission of results was baseless, as all the witnesses he presented at the PEPC, “confirmed that the election was conducted very well, where INEC followed all the required procedures.”
He, therefore, asked the Supreme Court to reject Atiku’s appeal for being meritless and to uphold the election and declaration of the Respondent by INEC as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having obtained highest number of valid votes cast and meeting all constitutional requirements.”
Tinubu argued that the Appellants did not show any reason why the Supreme Court should interfere with any of the findings of the lower court, “which with all respect, are founded on law and excellent demonstration of scholarship.”
He, therefore, requested the Supreme Court to dismiss Atiku’s appeal numbered: SC/CV/935/2023.
The 1st to 3rd Respondents in the appeal were INEC, Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress, APC, respectively.
The Supreme Court has not yet fixed a date for the hearing on the presidential dispute.