Supreme Court Hears Atiku’s Appeal on Monday

Supreme Court Hears Atiku’s Appeal on Monday

A week after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu filed his response to the appeal of the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 25 February Presidential Election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Supreme Court on Thursday said the appeal is listed for hearing on Monday, 23 October,2023. A notice of the hearing issued by

A week after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu filed his response to the appeal of the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 25 February Presidential Election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Supreme Court on Thursday said the appeal is listed for hearing on Monday, 23 October,2023.

A notice of the hearing issued by the Supreme Court of Nigeria dated 19th day of October,2023 the appeal marked SC/CS/935/2023 was signed by Ms. Zainab M Garba.

“And further take notice that in accordance with Order 2 Rule 2(2) of the Supreme Court Rules 1985,as amended, this notice is deemed sufficiently served on you if it is left at your address of service or sent by registered post and since the date of service by post is material, Section 26 of the Incorporation Act 1964 shall apply”, Ms Garba said.

It is expected that the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola would before the panel that would sit on the appeal announce members of the panel.

Since the issue for determination has some points on constitutional issues, it is expected the panel of Justices to preside over the appeal shall be seven .

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party, PDP, had on 29 September stormed the Supreme Court with 35 grounds of appeal seeking nullification of the declaration of Presidential Tinubu as winner of the presidential election.

Alhaji Abubakar and PDP said that the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) erred in law by not taking into cognisance the Doctrine of Legitimate Expectation when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to conduct the election in accordance with its own guidelines and the Electoral Act 2022.

The doctrine of legitimate expectation was first developed in English law as a ground of judicial review in administrative law to protect a procedural or substantive interest when a public authority rescinds from a representation made to a person.

Alhaji Abubakar and PDP requested the Supreme Court to void and set aside the September 6,2023 judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court, which upheld the declaration of President Tinubu as President by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on March 1.

In the Notice of Appeal, Alhaji Abubakar prayed the apex court to declare him the authentic winner of the February 25 presidential election based on lawful votes cast by Nigerians during the poll.

He said that in the alternative, the apex court should order a rerun election to be conducted for him and President Tinubu being the 1st and 2nd runners up in the last presidential election.

Twenty – four days after Alhaji Abubakar filed his appeal at the Supreme Court,President Tinubu last Thursday responded , asking the Supreme Court to discountenance the appeal filed by the appellants.

President Tinubu through his counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said Alhaji Abubakar has not “demonstrated any reason why this Honourable Court should disturb any of the findings of the lower court, which, with all modesty are rooted in law and perfect demonstration of scholarship”.

The Supreme Court was yet to fix a date for the hearing of the appeal marked SC/CS/935/2023 while the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola is yet to constitute the panel to hear the appeal.

President Tinubu in his response stated that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar cannot introduce any fresh evidence at this stage of the appeal and asked the Supreme Court to dismiss application to introduce fresh evidence.

Chief Wole Olanipekun, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) lead counsel to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu described the appeal by Alhaji Abubakar against the PEPC’s judgement as a mere blockbuster with thrilling suspense and hide-and-seek.

According to Chief Olanipekun, the case of Alhaji Abubakar has no legs to stand upon and has no wings fly to the direction being sought by the former Vice President, stressing that the appeal was irritating, vague, unwarranted and has no known focus or destination.

President Tinubu claimed in the court papers he filed at the Supreme Court that he defeated Alhaji Abubakar and PDP in virtually all the states of the federation, thereby prompting the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare him winner after the lawful collation of the election results in the presence of agents of the appellant.

President Tinubu’s lead counsel also faulted the allegations of malpractices, non-compliance with electoral laws and non-qualifications raised against him by Alhaji Abubakar, stressing that the lower court did not find merits in any of the allegations, hence, they were dismissed.

He, therefore, challenged the competence of Atiku’s petition, stressing that what the former Vice President dressed as statements of facts were mere hearsays with no probate values.

He also asserted that while Alhaji Abubakar claimed to have won the majority of the lawful votes cast at the election, he never gave the figure he scored at the election, stressing that what Alhaji Abubakar termed an expert report, was a mere worthless paper having been produced outside the period of the time stipulated by law thereby making it inadmissible by any court of law.

President Tinubu specifically drew the attention of the Supreme Court to the admission of Alhaji Abubakar’s witnesses that the election was free and fair except for the inability of INEC to transmit the results electorally as it earlier promised.

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