The presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic party(PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has asked the Supreme Court to grant him leave to tender the academic records of President Bola Tinubu given to him by the Chicago State University, United States, as fresh evidence in his bid to establish alleged certificate forgery against the president.
Recall that Atiku had days ago addressed a world press conference, insisting that Tinubu forged his academic credentials and ought to be disqualified from contesting for president or occupying the office on that ground.
Before now, the Presidential Election Petition Court sitting in Abuja had thrown out Atiku’s petition for lacking in merit while faulting the substantiality of Tinubu’s academic records tendered by Atiku’s legal team through a public interest activist.
Dissatisfied, Atiku’s legal team approached the apex court seeking orders setting aside the entire judgment of the lower court for being allegedly erroneous, perverse and a miscarriage of justice.
While the apex court is yet to announce a hearing date on Atiku’s appeal, his legal team had approached the US District Court of Illinois for orders mandating Chicago State University to release Tinubu’s academic records.
That request was granted by Judge Nancy Maldonado of the said court.
In an application following his appeal at Nigeria’s apex court, Atiku’s lead counsel, Chris Uche, asked the court to allow him “produce and for the court to receive fresh and additional evidence by way of deposition on oath from the Chicago State University for use in this 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.”
Uche referred the court to Order 2 Rule 12 (7), (2) and (3) of the Supreme Court Rules which states “(1) A party who wishes the Court to receive the evidence of witnesses (whether they were or were not called at the trial) or to order the production of any document, exhibit or other thing connected with the proceedings in accordance with the provisions of Section 33 of the Act, shall apply for leave on notice of motion prior to the date set down for the hearing of the appeal.”
It remains to be seen if the apex court will admit the said fresh documents because the respondents — Tinubu and the Independent National Electoral Commission — will be given a right of reply before the court can then decide on its admissibility.
Hearing date on Atiku’s petition is yet to be fixed.