President Bola Tinubu has picked holes in the submissions of Atiku Abubakar at the Supreme Court, with which he urged the apex court to declare that he is not fit to contest the 2023 election, having submitted forged documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Atiku, former Vice President and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the election, held on February 25, is relying on the content of the deposition made by the Chicago State University (CSU) in relation to Tinubu’s academic records, to establish his case of forgery, claiming that what the former Governor of Lagos State submitted to the electoral body ahead of the election, was different from what he claimed to have obtained from the US university.
But, Tinubu’s argument through his lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is that the Supreme Court could no longer, at this stage, assume trial jurisdiction in the case since the 180 days allocated for the hearing of election petition has lapsed and that the supposed new evidence was strange to the proceedings, having not been presented by the trial court, Atiku and the PDP, who were joint petitioners at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), did not challenge the outcome of the last presidential election on ground of forgery before the PEPC.
In Tinubu’s counter deposition at the apex court, he further argued in a written brief that court could not accept the written deposition of the Registrar of the CSU, who was not a witness before the the PEPC and whose written statement was not activated through oral evidence as required under Section 41(1) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act 2022.
He argued: “The mode of oral examination is provided for in paragraph 41(3) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, to wit: adoption of written deposition. Where a written deposition is not activated by oral examination of the deponent before the court, same will not be acted upon by a court.
“It is not in doubt that the deponent of the deposition sought to be introduced as additional evidence was not orally examined at the lower court. The appellant has not made a case for the court to override the provision of Paragraph 41(1) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act or referred to any law permitting the use of the deposition outside the confines of Paragraph 41(1) of the 1st Schedule.
“Appellants are attempting the impossible – thus, they have not stated whether the evidence is documentary or oral evidence because it fits into neither.
He also argued that the Supreme Court no longer has the power to assume trial jurisdiction on the petition by Atiku and the PDP because the 180 days allowed by the Constitution for the hearing of election petion lapsed on September 17 in respect of this petition.
“In the circumstance, this honourable court is without the vires to consider the said deposition either as oral or documentary evidence, moreso when same was not considered by the court of first instance within the 180 days timeframe provided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The case presented by Atiku and the PDP is worse than the situation in the case of Tofowomo v. Ajayi (SC/CV/1526/2022 where the apex court, in a judgment delivered on January 27, 2023, declined to invoke its power under Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act as being sought by Atiku and his party in their latest application.
“The court will note that the above decision presented more valid basis than this application for the Supreme Court’s intervention, because therein, the issues had been raised at the lower court without resolution. The situation of this application is worse because, admittedly, it relates to fresh evidence obtained after the judgment of the lower court and the date of the filing of the motion was/is outside 180 days of the filing of the petition.
“Admission of fresh evidence can only proceed from the combined provisions of sections 22 and 33 of the Supreme Court Act. The provisions of Order 2 Rule 12(1) of the Rules of this honourable court, pursuant to which appellants’ motion has been brought, circumscribe the receipt of fresh evidence within the circumference of section 33 of the Supreme Court Act.
“Hence, for this honourable court to be able to give effect to Section 33 of the Supreme Court Act, which is the bedrock for Order 2 Rule 12(1), the jurisdiction of the lower court must be alive. Unfortunately for the appellants, however, this jurisdiction died as far back as 17th September, 2023, upon the expiration of 180 days from the date of filing of the petition by the appellants.
“In recent times, even in very dire and pathetic situations, this honourable court has been faced with supplications from parties to consider the merit of their actions which was left unattended by the trial court after consideration of threshold issues. However, being bound by the provision of section 285(6) of the Constitution , this honourable court has consistently declined.
“We reiterate that the new document/deposition was neither pleaded nor listed at the lower court. Even in regular civil proceedings, the court will still be required to fall back to originating processes in assessing the extent of its powers. Five conditions/requirements must co-exist before this court can grant this type of application, as decided in a host of authorities.
“In summary, the conditions are that: the fresh evidence could aot have been obtained with reasonable diligence at trial; such evidence, if admitted would have important effect on the subject of the appeal; such evidence, er facie, is apparently capable of being believed; such evidence would have influenced the judgment of the lower court in favour of the appellants, had it been available; and if such evidence is admitted, further evidence from the opposing party will not be needed.
“Aside from the fact that there was no pleading whatsoever in the appellants’ petition before the lower court relative to the fresh evidence, which they seek to adduce, may we refer the court to paragraph 14(iii) of the counter affidavit, where the 2nd respondent had reiterated the fact that no issue was joined as between him and the appellants on this purported evidence which they seek to tender.
“This is in addition to the fundamental issue of fair hearing contained in paragraph 14 (iv) to the effect that the respondent will have no opportunity of reacting to this fresh evidence. A person who alleges that his right to fair hearing is being or likely to be breached does not need to prove any special damage.
Accusing Atiku and his party of deliberately misrepresenting facts before the Supreme Court in relation to their claim that he was not qualified to contest the election, he added: “In addition to the foregoing, is the misleading posture of the appellants, attempting to mislead the apex court in this land through Ground 1 of their application, that ‘one of the grounds of the appellants/applicants’ petition before the court below is that the 2nd respondent was not qualified at the time of the election to contest the election as required by section 137(1)(j) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended)’, whereas, the only ground (Ground D) of their petition relating to disqualification reads thus: ‘The 2nd respondent was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the election.’
“While this application, for whatever it is worth, seeks the equitable jurisdiction of this honourable court, it is obvious that the applicants have not come with clean hands; they have come with a deceitful disposition ex facie (on the face of it). This honourable court cannot pay heed to this type of applicants, even if they had had a good cause, owing to their attitude.
Tinubu, stressed that the Supreme Court could equally not admit the deposition by the CSU’s Registrar and an additional document (marked Exhibits C and D) because the deposition was not made before a court, but in the office of Atiku’s lawyer, saying: “Exhibits C and D are not admissible in their current form. Starting from page 1 of Exhibits C, it reads: ‘This is the discovery deposition of Caleb Westerberg taken in the above titled cause before Gwendolyn Bedford, a Certified Shorthand Reporter…taken at the offices of Dechert LLP…’
“The purported deposition was made, not before a court, but before a shorthand reporter, in a law office of the 1st appellant (Atiku’s) counsel. In essence, the appellants seek to tender as fresh evidence, before the Supreme Court of Nigeria, statements made by a third party by name Caleb Westerberg, in the presence of lawyers and a shorthand reporter , without calling him as a witness. It is at best hearsay, which is of no evidential value in the absence of the alleged deponent, Caleb Westerberg. See section 83 of the Evidence Act.
“While we are not oblivious that the procedure adopted is as prescribed by 28 U.S.C. § 1782 and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in the USA, we dare submit that these body of laws do not have extra-territorial application and cannot bind this honourable court, which is by no means of equal or subordinate status to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois or more ridiculously, the law office of 1st appellant’s US counsel, Dechert LLP, where the deposition took place.
“There is no connection between the appeal and the documents that Atiku and the PDP went to the US to obtain and which they seek to tender before the apex court. It is our further submission that in the most unlikely event that this honourable court considers Exhibits C and D admissible, they will be of no utility or affinity to the appellants’ appeal, for several reasons, including the fact that there is no ground of appeal upon which they can be structured, as well as there being no accommodative issue for determination.
“The law is trite that an appeal is not only a continuation of hearing, it is also circumscribed by matters heard and determined at the trial court. Thus, the Supreme Court cannot exercise any jurisdiction that the Court of Appeal is incapable of exercising.
“We refer your Lordships to the brief of argument filed by the appellants, and submit that no issue for determination thereof, can accommodate Exhibits C and D, yet, appeals are decided on issues for determination, which must be predicated on the grounds of appeal. None of the seven issues for determination presented by the appellants has any proximity to the disqualification of the respondents on the ground of forgery of any certificate whatsoever.
“Equally, there is no relief in the petition, seeking the disqualification of the respondent on the ground of forgery.”
Citing the Supreme Court’s earlier judgment in that case Saraki v. Kotoye (1992) 9 NWLR (Pt. 264) 156 at 188, Tinubu submitted that the latest application by Atiku and the PDP “is meant to harass, irritate and annoy the respondent (Tinubu),” adding that “it is reckless and frivolous, and there is no iota of law supporting it.
He said: “From the foregoing, it is safe to submit that this application is a crass abuse of the processes of this honourable court. Arising from the foregoing, we urge the Supreme Court to resolve the sole issue formulated in this address against the appellants/applicants and in favour of the respondent. In conclusion, and for the reasons and arguments advanced in this address, we urge the Supreme Court to dismiss this application.”
N15billion VP’s residence: Stop whining, you’re a hypocrite, Shettima attacks Obi
“President Tinubu and Vice President Shettima have left no stone unturned since they assumed office in the bid to wriggle the country out of the economic and social morass it had been enmeshed in. Under their watch, within a period of seven months, Nigeria’s foreign policy process and international relations have been reinforced with commendable results.”
These were the exact words, with which Vice President, Kashim Shettima, pushed back against attacks from Nigerians over the N15billion proposed by Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), for the completion of the official residence of the Vice President in Abuja, saying those kicking against the project, were not being sincere.
He particularly lashed out at Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State and presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25, 2023 election, accusing him of speaking out of the pains he still felt over his defeat by President Bola Tinubu and himself, who ran on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The VP wondered why the same Obi, who had as governor, ordered the completion of abandoned projects during his tenure in Anambra would rail against the same move by the Tinubu administration, saying it smacked of hypocrisy on his part, as the project in question came about not because he wanted to live in a new house but that the current government at the federal level desired to complete projects abandoned by previous governments.
In a statement signed by Stanley Nkwocha, his spokesman, the VP, admonished Obi to quietly lick his wounds from his defeat rather than whining endlessly over every move of the Tinubu administration, which he said were bold steps being taken in its determination to turn things around for the country.
The full statement, read: “We have taken note of statements credited to presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi, in which he made yet another frail and futile attempt to paint the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration in bad light.
“For good 24 hours, Obi danced naked in the public square, trying to curry the attention of those who care to listen to his falsehood and warped opinions about waste. On Sunday, he accused the current administration of sponsoring over 1,400 delegates to Dubai for COP28.
“The next day, being Monday, the subject of his new found passion – armchair criticism – after his colossal loss at the presidential poll was the proposed N15.5 billion budgeted by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to renovate the house of the Vice President, which he claimed would pay the annual salary of 3,000 University Professors.
“Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have bothered to gratify Peter Obi with a response, especially when it is obvious that the Labour Party candidate is an unhealthy subject to post-election trauma.But it has become necessary to put the records straight. In his recent tirade against President Tinubu and his deputy, Vice President Kashim Shettima, Obi started another series of self-aggrandizement aimed at convincing Nigerians that he is the only person who has their interest at heart. But a clear shift of the veil will reveal deeply a man who is still sobbing after his woeful loss in the 2023 presidential election.
“For the records, unlike the “most brilliant, all knowing and Nigeria’s mirific but never-had President,” Mr Peter Obi, both President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima, have never claimed to know it all or exhibit anything close to perfection in their dealings. If anything, they have always submitted to their human nature, leaving perfection to the Almighty God only.
“Giving the reactions and invocations generated by Mr Obi’s comments, however, it is necessary for the sake of history to clarify that the proposed plan for the construction of the Vice President’s official residence, for which budgetary allocation was made in the 2024 budget by the FCT Administration, was awarded by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. It was not originated by the present administration. This, Mr Obi, knows but chose to play dumb all in a bid to inflamate a targeted group of Nigerians and, as usual, score cheap political goals, accolades and praises.
“The project, which was reinitiated in 2010 and was funded by the Jonathan administration, was abandoned. Appalled by the sorry state of the uncompleted building that was now overtaken by weeds and reptiles over a decade after construction started about 13 years ago, the current FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, felt it would be a waste to allow such a project started with public funds to continue to lie fallow; thus, in his wisdom and without the prompting of the Vice President, decided to resuscitate the building.
“We invite more cerebral Nigerians to crosscheck properly which should be considered a waste between Obi’s tantrums because the project has attracted government’s attention, given the decision by the current administration to complete vital abandoned projects. What is more wasteful and reckless than abandoning an edifice to rot and depreciate despite the amount that has been sunk into it over the years?
“We recall that while Obi was governor of Anambra State, he had insisted that contractors should return to site to complete abandoned projects, which he then never considered as a waste. If he did this while deploying ‘entailed wisdom and leadership’ to Ndi Anambra as a governor, the question now is: why should the same action by the Tinubu administration now be termed blue murder?
“Nigerians know that the issue of a befitting residence for the Vice President had been a recurring decimal in the budget of Nigeria since 2007. It did not start today, same for residences of the Senate President and the Speaker. The array of abandoned Federal Government projects littered all over the country is a national embarrassment that the current administration has taken a bold step to save the country from. This is why it has made it a priority that all abandoned projects must be completed before new ones are initiated, save for some on exceptional basis, either because of the need for strategic alignment or economic significance.
“Comparing the amount budgeted for the residence of the VP and salaries paid to Professors is an analogy taken too far. This is the only government that has repeatedly made it clear that the welfare of lecturers is paramount and the need to increase the budget of the educational sector is a gradual process in the face of the daunting security challenges it met on ground.
This same government directed that the backlog of salaries owed both teaching and non-teaching staff of universities be paid immediately despite the ‘no work, no pay’ order, while negotiations for their welfare continue in view of a wage package in 2024. The introduction of a student’s loan scheme is also a masterstroke that is targeted at ensuring that nobody, no matter his/her status, will be denied the right to quality education.
“Taking into cognisance the recent inflation rate, which has become a global phenomenon that Nigeria is not immune to, budgetary provisions are estimates aimed at advancing monies to complete projects that have bearings on the lives of the people. That the amount budgeted for various sectors are deemed to be on the high side is not unconnected with inflationary trends as being witnessed the world over. And since Mr Obi has qualms with this, he may as well explain to Nigerians why despite being a self acclaimed billionaire he and his likes continue importing all manner of junks, including toothpicks to sell to Nigerians all in a bid for his NEXT business empire to flourish at the detriment of our foreign exchange and economy.
“Curiously, it is under the Tinubu administration that Obi has suddenly “become a man,” with a shrill voice in the opposition camp. His claim about Nigerians needing leaders willing to make sacrifices for the nation’s development smacks of hypocrisy of the highest order. It appears the former Anambra State governor has forgotten so soon reports about the plethora of contracts he awarded in the twilight of his administration, including road contracts worth over N30 billion he awarded within a record period of three weeks.
“Nigerians have also not forgotten the investigation by the global International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)-led Pandora Papers project which linked Obi to a number of secret business deals and relationships that he kept top secret, including businesses he surreptitiously set up and operated overseas. He later admitted that he did not declare these companies and the funds because he wasn’t aware that he was expected to declare assets or companies he jointly owns with his family members or anyone else as provided by the law.
“There is no other context to situate Obi’s sermon about waste other than the fact that he has refused to swallow the bitter pills of reality. It is pitiful that since he was mercilessly defeated by President Tinubu, he and his army of social media cohorts have continued to brazenly unleash a campaign of calumny against the President and now, his administration.
“But despite Obi’s divisive rhetoric, Nigerians have since put a final seal on religious and ethnic politicking so that the country can move forward against the wish of certain persons in the mold of Obi who have continued to fan the embers of division and falsehood just to create tension and spurn vexatious narratives in the polity.
“They have turned themselves into marketers-in-chief to attract direct foreign investments, all in a bid to turn around the nation’s economic fortune for good. But the likes of Obi have not for once applauded these efforts. Still labouring under post-election trauma, the Labour Party candidate and his ilk are bent on pulling down the Tinubu administration at all cost.
“We advise him and his fellow travellers in the opposition to accept defeat honourably, and put the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians first as patriotic citizens they claim to be. Nigerians are not so gullible to be hoodwinked by statements that fly in the face of common sense. Our candid advice for him is that he should join hands with the current administration in nation building instead of all these red herrings he is throwing around.
The Vice President is a very busy man. He has committed himself to serving Nigeria and helping President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to achieving his set goals and objectives. As his work attitude and skills speak to, Senator Kashim Shettima is a very serious-minded leader. He is not into dubious or phony politics of statistics manipulation or mind games. Leadership, to him, is a serious business and not a circus show!”
South East roads: Will Umahi make or mar them?
Kaduna bombing: How I lost 34 family members – witness *After the first, they returned to cause the main havoc
“As we rushed to aid the injured, the jet returned, unleashing a second bomb, this time, many of those who had come to help were among the casualties,” were the exact words with which Idris Dahiru used to paint the gory incident of the massacre of his kinsmen after the bombing of his community by soldiers from the Nigerian Army.
Dahiru, who claimed he lost 34 of his family members in the incident to which Taoreed Lagbaja, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), attributed to mistaken identity as the operatives mistook them for bandits, said there was an initial attack in which the first set of victims were torn to shreds where others escaped death by the whiskers.
Stating that it was when rescuers from the village, who initially dispersed for dear life, returned to help the wounded that the more devastating attack happened as the soldiers returned to drop more bumbs.
Lagbaja, a Lieutenant General, who led other military top brass to commiserate with the community, where he donated N10million to help victims of the attack which occurred on Sunday, had told his hosts, “Having trailed them for sometimes, the decision was taken to conducts a strike based on the observations of tactics usually employed by bandits. Unfortunately, the report we got thereafter revealed that it was innocent civilians in Tudun Biri that the drone carried out the strike on.”
Stating that the reason for the urgent and essential visit to the village was to commiserate with the community on the unfortunate incident, Lagbaja assured them that a thorough investigation had commenced on the matter even before the directive to that effect by President Bola Tinubu.
Dahiru, who spoke with the BBC Hausa, said the bombing, which went off without notice killing many people, disrupted their Maulud celebration, adding: “Unexpected airstrikes shattered our annual Maulud celebration. The first bomb exploded without warning, killing innocent people, including women and children, the blast tore apart some victims.
“My family alone has lost 34 members in this tragedy. We have 66 loved ones receiving medical care at Barau Dikko Hospital.”
December 6, 2023 9:50 pm
N15billion VP’s residence: Stop whining, you’re a hypocrite, Shettima attacks Obi
South East roads: Will Umahi make or mar them?
BREAKING: Supreme Court on fire! Judges’ offices razed days after Atiku, Obi’s appeal!
Soyinka, Obi, Tinubu: When repayment of mafia debt is inescapable
In the military, INEC boss and his team would be executed – Bode George *Why put Tinubu’s boy in charge of IT?
News4 weeks ago
BREAKING: Another Anambra girl in fresh academic feat! *Emerges overall best in NECO *Gets national award
News3 weeks ago
Tell the world how I made you, Adesuwa, Ighalo’s estranged wife tells ex-international
News1 week ago
BREAKING: Kyari returns as MD, as Tinubu appoints new NNPC board
News4 weeks ago
S’Court: Obi spoke my mind – Kuhah *Nigerians must say no to injustice
News3 weeks ago
INEC has reached a dead-end, now a danger to Nigerian democracy – Nwankwo
News1 week ago
Diezani a disgrace to womanhood – Danjuma *Says, ex-Minister excelled in corruption
News1 week ago
Adamawa invasion: Soldiers acted like Boko Haram – IG *Takes matter to Tinubu
Entertainment3 weeks ago
BREAKING: ‘OLADIPS’ another popular Nigerian musician dies at 28