In a decisive ruling on Thursday, the Supreme Court thwarted former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s endeavor to introduce fresh evidence aimed at nullifying the election of President Bola Tinubu. Justice John Inyang Okoro, chairing the 7-man panel, expressed concern that admitting new evidence regarding Tinubu’s diploma from Chicago State University would protract the judgment, leading the country back to what he termed as the “dark old days.” The court, he asserted, lacks the jurisdiction to entertain such fresh evidence.
Justice Okoro remarked, “It will be unfortunate to go back to the dark old days when election petitions could be heard up to the point of expiration of the tenure of the person whose election was being challenged.” He underscored that the Supreme Court cannot accept new evidence, emphasizing the need to avoid undue elongation of the legal process.
Atiku’s attempt to introduce fresh evidence was framed as a bid to extend the time for adjudicating the case. Justice Okoro, however, firmly stated, “Consequently, since the Presidential Election court has no jurisdiction to entertain fresh evidence, the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to accept fresh evidence.” The ruling solidifies the court’s stance on the limitations of introducing new elements into ongoing election disputes.
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