Mr. Peter Obi, the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, and his party have filed a petition at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, challenging the declaration of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which conducted the presidential election, declared Tinubu the winner after he received 8,794,726 votes, defeating his closest rivals and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates Al-haji Atiku Abubakar and Mr. Obi, who received 6,984,520 and 6,101,533 votes, respectively.
On March 1, Abuja INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu named Tinubu president-elect.
After the electoral umpire failed to electronically upload results from its polling areas to the INEC Results Viewing Portal, Obi and Atiku asked for the election results to be canceled, alleging malpractice.
On March 20, Obi, who finished third, filed his appeal at the Presidential Election appeal Tribunal registry in Abuja.
The petitioners are Obi and the Labour Party, while the defendants are INEC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Shettima Kashim, and the APC.
Obi’s lead counsel, Livy Ozoukwu (SAN), stated that Tinubu was not qualified to run for president at the time of the election because he was fined $460,000 for narcotics trafficking by the United States District Court, Northern District Illinois, Eastern Division in case No. 93C 4483 between the USA versus Funds in three foreign accounts.
Obi claimed that he received the most legal presidential election votes and should be declared and re-elected.
“An order directing INEC to issue Certificate of Return to the first petitioner (Obi) as the duly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “That, it be determined that the Certificate of Return wrongly issued to the second respondent (Tinubu) by the first respondent (INEC) is null, void, and be set aside,” the petitioners prayed, arguing that the February 25 presidential election was not conducted substantia.
Ozoukwu argued that the president-elect “was not duly elected by a majority of the lawful votes cast at the time of the election” and urged the tribunal to rule that Tinubu and Shettima were ineligible to run in the presidential election on 25 February 2023.
Due to the non-qualification of the president-elect and vice president-elect, he asked the panel to declare all Tinubu election votes wasted.
“That the 2nd Respondent (Tinubu) having failed to score one-quarter of the votes cast at the Presidential Election in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja was not entitled to be declared and returned as the winner of the presidential election held on 25 February 2023.”
In their appeal, CA/PEPC/03/2023, Obi and his party argued that the February 25 presidential election was invalid due to corruption and non-compliance with the Electoral Act,2022.
“An order canceling the election and compelling the 1st respondent (INEC) to conduct a fresh election at which the 2nd Respondent (Tinubu), 3rd re-respondent (Shettima), and 4th respondent (APC shall not participate,” the petitioners requested.
The Action Alliance (AA) and Allied Peoples Movement (APM) also filed motions to overturn the presidential election results.
AA and its presidential nominee, Solomon Okanigbuan, petitioned the Tribunal to nullify the presidential election because their candidate was unlawfully excluded.
In their petition CA/PEPC/04/2023, the APM and its presidential candidate, Ojei Princess Chichi, argued that Tinubu was not qualified to fight the election at the time.
The party argued that the declaration and return of the 3rd defendant (Tinubu) as the duly elected President are invalid due to noncompliance with Section 131(C) and 142 of the constitution and Section 35 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
The Act gives litigants 21 days to file appeals after the election.
The Nigerian Tribune reported that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, filed their petition at 21:50 last night to beat the limit.
According to the Nigerian Tribune, the petitioners are Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the defendants are INEC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the APC.
The campaign council’s media and legal teams verified the petition’s “successful filing” when contacted.
“His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and the PDP have successfully filed their petition at the Presidential Election Petition Court today, March 21, 2023.”
In another development, the US government will impose visa sanctions and other steps on those who hacked the March 18 gubernatorial and state house elections.
On Tuesday, the Abuja U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Department announced this.
The U.S. also urged Nigerian officials to prosecute those who ordered or carried out voter intimidation and suppression during the election.
On March 18, Nigeria held gubernatorial and state assembly elections in the second round of its voting process.
The US is appalled by the violent voter intimidation and repression in Lagos, Kano, and other states.
The U.S. diplomatic mission witnessed some of these events during the elections in Lagos and elsewhere.
“Ethnically charged rhetoric before, during, and after the Lagos gubernatorial election was particularly concerning.