Tinubu: What Transpired In Supreme Court Today

9:04 a.m: A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court led byJohn Okoro files into the courtroom.

The seven-member panel are: John Okoro, Uwani Abba-Aji, Lawal Garba, Ibrahim Saulawa, Adamu Jauro, Tijjani Abubakar and Emmanuel Agim.

9:07 a.m: Court registrar calls Atiku’s appeal against Mr Tinubu.

09:10 a.m.: Chris Uche, a SAN, announces appearance for Atiku.

09:12 a.m: Abubakar Mahmoud, a SAN, announces legal representation for Nigeria’s electoral commission, INEC.

9:14 a.m: Wole Olanipekun, a SAN, announces appearance for Mr Tinubu.

9.16 a.m: Akin Olujinmi, a SAN, announces legal representation for the APC.

9:18 a.m.: Chris Uche, a SAN, says the appeals are ripe for hearing.

Mr Uche says there are some pending interlocutory applications.

09:20 a.m.: Mr Uche moves a motion filed 6 October 2023.

He seeks five minutes of adumberation of the application.

We are praying for an order of leave to present fresh evidence on appeal based on the deposition on oath from Chicago State University.

He says the application is predicated on 20 grounds and an affidavit of 20 paragraphs filed on behalf of Atiku.

Mr Uche says upon the receipt of counter-affidavit from Mr Tinubu, APC and INEC, we filed a written address dated 18 October.

Mr Uche adopts the application and urges the court to grant their request.

9.26 a.m.: He says the issue involving Mr Tinubu’s certificate is a weighty, grave and constitutional one, which the Supreme Court must decide. He urges the court to admit the fresh evidence of President Tinubu’s academic records from Chicago State University presented by Atiku.

He says the Supreme Court has a duty to take a look at Mr Tinubu’s records and reach a decision devoid of technicality.

9:28 a.m.: The presiding justice, Mr Okoro, asks Mr Uche whether the Supreme Court should rely on the Electoral Act or the Constitution.

In his response, Mr Uche says the issue about Mr Tinubu’s certificate is a constitutional matter which the court should look into.

9:29 a.m.: A member of the panel, Emmanuel Agim, asks Mr Uche to explain the nature of Atiku’s fresh documents he seeks to tender before the Supreme Court.

9:32 a.m. Justice Agim asks whether the testimony by CSU registrar was conducted in a court.

Justice Agim says from Mr Uche’s court filing, the testimony by the CSU registrar held in Atiku’s lawyer’s law office in the US.

9:35: am: Justice Agim says the CSU did not issue any letter discrediting Mr Tinubu’s certificate
“We are dealing with a matter that touches on the national unity of Nigeria,” the Justice adds.

9:36 a.m: Justice Okoro seeks clarification from Atiku’s lawyer, Mr Uche.

9.38a.m.: Mr Okoro asks Mr Uche why he wants the Supreme Court to brush aside constitutional provisions and entertain the fresh evidence.

09:39 a.m.: Mr Uche explains that Section 233 of the constitution gives the Supreme Court the power to entertain questions about whether a person has been properly elected.

9:43 a.m.: Mr Uche responds to the issue raised about the CSU proceedings.

“There is a slight distinction between proceedings in the US and the UK.
“In the US, that is how court proceedings are done.
“Mr Tinubu was represented by a US lawyer, but he did not object to the proceedings being held in Atiku’s lawyer’s office.”

Mr Uche says depositions are more effective than letters from the CSU authorities regarding the authenticity of Mr Tinubu’s academic records.

9:43 a.m: Justice Okoro says criminal matters have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. But that in this case, there are two conflicting letters from the CSU – one authenticating the president’s certificate and another discrediting it. “Which do we rely on?” he asked.

Mr Uche refers the court to a letter earlier issued to Michael Enahoro-Ebah, a lawyer, who testified for Atiku against Mr Tinubu at the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja.

9:48 a.m.: INEC lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud, asks the Supreme Court to dismiss Atiku’s application seeking to tender Mr Tinubu’s academic records.

9:49a.m.: Mr Olanipekun, who is Mr Tinubu’s lawyers, urges the Supreme Court to “dismiss this very unusual application” seeking to tender fresh evidence against Mr Tinubu.

He says the fresh evidence is not admissible.

Mr Olanipekun argues that the CSU depositions are dormant until the deponent comes to court and testify. INEC should have been a party at the deposition proceedings in the US, the lawyer says.

Mr Olanipekun further says the question of 180 days (the statutory period within which an election petition should be filed and determined) is clear. It is sacrosanct. It cannot be shifted. Therefore, Atiku cannot seek to tender fresh evidence at the Supreme Court.

9.51 a.m.: Mr Olanipekun wonders how the Supreme Court will compartmentalise Atiku’s fresh evidence. “This is an application in wonderland. It has no merit. We urge the court to dismiss.

“The courts are bound by the law, and the law is to be interpreted as it is,” he says.

10:a.m.: Akin Olujinmi addresses the Supreme Court.
“This application lacks merit, it is misconceived and we urge the court to dismiss it,” the APC lawyer says.

Mr Olujinmi adopts Mr Olanipekun’s arguments.

“You cannot smuggle in a document into the Supreme Court without first tendering same at the trial court,” the lawyer added.

10:04 a.m: Justice Okoro asks, “what do we do with the fresh evidence?”

Mr Olujinmi says the burden is on Atiku to prove why the fresh evidence should be admitted by the Supreme Court.

10:05 a.m: Mr Uche responds to Tinubu’s lawyers regarding the CSU proceedings.

10.06 a.m.: Mr Uche says the CSU depositions can be used in the Nigerian court.

10:11 a.m.: Mr Olanipekun informs the court of a motion his team filed on 7 October praying for the striking out of some of the appellants’ grounds of appeal.

10:12: a.m.: Chris Uche says, in opposition, that his team filed a counter-affidavit on 18 October. He says the counter-affidavit is accompanied by a written address.

“We urge the court to dismiss Mr Tinubu’s motion,” he adds.

10:14 a.m.: Supreme Court begins hearing of substantive appeal in Atiku’s case against Mr Tinubu.

Mr Uche adopts his court filings in the substantive appeal.

He urges the court to allow the appeal, and set aside the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Court.

He says germane constitutional issues are involved in the appeal, therefore, the Supreme Court should critically examine the appeal.

10:17 a.m: INEC lawyer, Mr Mahmoud addresses the court.

He prays the court to dismiss the appeal as it lacks merit.

Mr Olanipekun jokingly points out the contradictions in Atiku’s prayers, where he prayed the court to disqualify Mr Tinubu as a candidate in the election, and in another breath, called for a rerun to be conducted between him and Mr Tinubu.

Courtroom erupted into laughter.

10:24 a.m.: Court rises for a five-minute recess.

10:52 a.m.: Mr Olanipekun addresses the court. He urges it to strike out APM’s grounds of appeal.

10:53 a.m.: APM lawyer said he filed a counter-affidavit to Mr Olanipekun’s motion seeking to strike out the appeal.

He prays the court to allow the appeal.

“What will you gain if you win this appeal,” Justice Okoro asks APM lawyer.

11:00 a.m: APM lawyer tries to justify the merit in his client’s case.

But he now moves to withdraw the appeal.

The APM lawyer says, “I apply to withdraw this appeal.”

INEC lawyer is not opposed to the withdrawal of the appeal.

APC’s and Tinubu’s lawyers also have no objection.

11:13 a.m.: Court calls Peter Obi’s appeal challenging Mr Tinubu’s election.

11:14: a.m.: Mr Obi’s lawyer, Livy Uzoukwu, a SAN, announces appearance.

11:16 a.m: Tinubu’s lawyer asks the court in a preliminary objection to dismiss Mr Obi’s appeal for lacking in merit.

11:22 a.m.: Mr Uzoukwu begins arguments in Mr Obi’s substantive appeal.

He adopts all court processes, urging it to allow the appeal.

11:23 a.m: INEC lawyer, Mr Mahmoud, says we filed a brief of argument.

“We humbly adopt all the arguments and urge my Lordships to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit,” Mr Mahmoud says.

11:26 a.m: Olanipekun argues Mr Tinubu’s case.

He adopts the court filings, praying the court to dismiss the appeal.

11:27 a.m.: APC lawyer, Mr Olujinmi also adopts his client’s brief of argument.

He urges the court to dismiss the appeal for being un-meritorious.

11: 30 a.m.: “This appeal is reserved for judgement until a date to be communicated to parties,” Justice Okoro says.

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