Home Politics Election Presidential election petition: Judgement day is here!

Presidential election petition: Judgement day is here!

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One hundred and ninety three days after the presidential election, the first of two stages of judicial intervention in the process will be concluded today as the five-member Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) delivers verdict in the matters filed against President Bola Tinubu.

By the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, any party in disagreement with the judgement of the PEPC has one more place to seek redress: the Supreme Court.

PEPC is headed by Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani. Also on the panel are:

  • Justice Stephen Adah
  • Justice Monsurat Bolaji-Yusuf
  • Justice Moses Ugo
  • Justice Abba Mohammed

Many Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora, and the global community will hook on to live proceedings now allowed by the tribunal on television. Many others will fall back on digital and other devices to monitor proceedings from the tribunal venue, located at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

On 1st March, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the 25th February presidential election.

INEC said that Tinubu scored the highest number of votes (8,794,726), almost two million votes more than his closest rival, Atiku, who polled 6,984,520 votes.

Obi finished the race with 6,101,533.

According to INEC, Tinubu and Atiku won 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states each, Obi clinched 11 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), while former Kano State Governor and candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, finished fourth, claiming victory in his state of Kano with 1,496,687 votes. The four candidates also secured significant numbers in several other states.

But the first runner-up, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and third placed Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party disputed the result and approached the PEPC, together with their political parties.

Three other dissatisfied political parties — Action Peoples Party (APP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and the Action Alliance (AA) — filed separate petitions, seeking the annulment of Tinubu’s victory. However, APP and AA withdrew their petitions shortly as the tribunal commenced hearing on 8th May.

Atiku and Obi as well as their respective parties cited some “anomalies” in the election including the “failure” of the commission’s Results Viewing Portal (IReV) to upload election results electronically as stipulated by Section 60 of the Electoral Act 2022.

Tinubu and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima were sworn in as President and Vice President respectively in Abuja on 29th May.

At the tribunal, the petitioners argued that Tinubu and Shettima were ineligible to contest the presidential election.

They contended that since Tinubu failed to secure 25 per cent of votes cast in the FCT, he did not fulfill constitutional requirements. They also alleged that Tinubu was indicted for drug trafficking in the United States, and that his academic certificates submitted to INEC were forged, amongst other claims.

Tinubu’s lawyers argued that the claims are false. The team of lawyers urged the tribunal to reject and throw out the submissions of the petitioners, arguing that the APC candidate won the poll and INEC was constitutionally correct to declare him as president-elect.

After months of adoption of written addresses and presentation of witnesses and evidences, the PEPC, on 1st August, reserved judgement in the matter.

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