just in: Supreme Court reserves judgement in Atiku’s Presidential election appeal
Written by AIGBOKHAEBHO OKHUELEIGBE on October 23, 2023
The Supreme Court has reserved judgment in the appeal by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP against the election of President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC. This followed the adoption of briefs by counsels to the different parties in the appeal on Monday.
Earlier, there was a heated argument on the admissibility of the deposition from the Chicago State University which Atiku’s lead counsel, Chris Uche filed before the court.
The Justices sought to know whether the deposition sought to be admitted qualifies to be a sworn statement that should be considered. One of the justices, Emmanuel Agim queried Atiku’s counsel that “Was this testimony conducted in the U.S court that made the order? The document did not state where the examination should take place. As it is, the testimony held in the law office of the appellant counsel, I’ve searched and not seen the legal authority of holding such at that office”
Seeking further clarifications, Justice Agim stated,
I expected the College to write a letter disclaiming the document. The stenographer, does he have the legal authority to administer oath?
We are dealing with a matter that touches on the national interest of this country.
In his response, Uche submitted that the legal system in the United States is different from that of the English legal system which is practiced in Nigeria.
Uche confirmed that although the deposition took place in the law chambers of Atiku’s American lawyer, it had representation by Tinubu’s American lawyer as well and that there was no conflict or dispute over the legality of the deposition.
Tinubu’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun also raised another ground of objection to the admissibility of the deposition. According to him, such deposition has to be adopted by the individual who was deposed for it to merit being admitted as evidence before the court.
In response, Uche argued that such is not the practice in a foreign proceeding. He clarified that the deposition was not based on a court order to clarify the discrepancies observed in the communications by the Chicago State University.
The Presiding Justice, Inyang Okoro observed that the issue of conflicting documents from the same institution is a serious criminal act that has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
After hearing the appellants’ motion to admit fresh evidence and the objections by the respondents, the court directed the parties to adopt their brief of arguments on the substantive appeal and thereafter announced that it was reserving judgment till a later date.