The Supreme Court on Thursday gave reasons why it cannot annul the February 25 Presidential election that brought President Bola Tinubu into office.
The Apex court therefore dismissed the petition of Peter Obi and the Labour Party on 25% of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as requirement to win the presidential election, and that of Atiku Abubakar as relates to forgery of Chicago State University certificates.
The Supreme Court ruled that FCT citizens do not enjoy special privileges ahead of other States.
Justice Inyang Okoro, who passed the judgement, said: “The decision of the lower court is unassailable and sees no difficulty in agreeing with it.
“Are You saying if someone scores 25% votes in 30 states but not in Abuja, he should not be president? Is that how you interpret the law? That is not the law. Supreme Court agrees with the Court of Appeal…..”
The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal had on September 6 declared that the Federal Capital Territory does not hold a higher status than other States in the country.
Section 134 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) stipulates that a presidential candidate must attain or score a majority of votes cast in a presidential election, where two or more candidates are involved, and at least 25% in two-thirds of the 36 States and FCT to meet the constitutional requirement to be declared as duly elected as President of Nigeria.
Justice Okoro noted that scoring 25% of votes in the FCT is not a mandatory requirement for declaration of a candidate as the winner of presidential election.
Dismissing the motion by former Vice President and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, seeking leave of the Apex court to file fresh evidence in his appeal against the victory of President Bola Tinubu, in the February 25, presidential election.
Justice John Okoro, held that a clinical look at the issues formulated by all the parties is the argument of whether the court as presently constituted has the power to grant the motion.
Okoro held that out of the seven issues distilled by Atiku for determination, none related or covered forgery, which the appellant is seeking to bring in.
“The Constitution does not permit that, and this court has no jurisdiction to grant the filing of fresh evidence that was not pleaded at the PEPC”.
The Supreme Court noted that Atiku did not even deem it fit to file for an amendment of his pleadings and for extension of time, since the 180 days allowed by the Constitution had elapsed since September 17, 2023.
Atiku, had in the motion dated Oct. 5, pleaded the apex court to grant him leave to bring in additional evidence by way of depositions on oath from the Chicago State University for use in his appeal to wit: the certified discovery deposition made by Caleb Westberg on behalf of Chicago State University on October 3, 2023, disclaiming the certificate presented by the 2nd respondent, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The Supreme Court says the failure by the Independent National Electoral Commission to transmit election results electronically did not affect the outcome of the election and could not warrant the nullification of the result of the presidential election.
Justice John Okoro, made the pronouncement in a lead judgment on the appeal by former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; and that of the candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, seeking to nullify the February 25, presidential election of President Bola Tinubu.