Presidential Election Petition Court sitting in Abuja has reserved judgement in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the February 23 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, against the victory of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The court also reserved judgment in a petition filed by Peter Obi and Labour Party (LP) challenging Tinubu’s election into power.
Obi and LP are petitioners in the petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023 challenging the election which brought president Bola Tinubu into power.
Respondents are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), President Tinubu and Vice president Kashim Shettima and All Progressives Congress (APC).
The five-member panel presided over by Justice Haruna Tsammani reserved judgment in Atiku and Obi’s petitions to a date that will be communicated to parties after parties adopted their final written addresses.
Chairman of the court fixed the date after listening to arguments from parties in the matter.
The major petitioner, Atiku, had while adopting his final address asked the court to do substantial justice to his petition and not technical judgment that may pervert the course of justice.
He insisted that Tinubu must be disqualified on the strength of the American court judgment where he was made to forfeit $460,000 on narcotics drug and money laundering-related offences.
Atiku’s final address was adopted by his lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN).
However, counsel to APC, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), urged the court to discountenance the arguments on the ground that the purported forfeiture had taken place more than 30 years ago.
President Tinubu through his lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), prayed the court to dismiss the petition because the grievances of Atiku and PDP were targeted at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and not Tinubu.
He said by not directing his grievances against Tinubu, the PDP presidential candidate and his party are deemed to have abandoned the petition against the declaration of Tinubu as President.
On its part, INEC, represented by Abubakar Mahmood (SAN), asked the court to dismiss the petition on the ground that the petitioners did not prove the allegations of malpractices and forgery contained in the petition as required by law.
In the case of Obi and LP, following the closing of the cases of the respondents on July 5, time was given to parties to file their written addresses.
Adopting their final written addresses filed on July 14, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), lead counsel for INEC urged the court to uphold their objections and take the petition as lacking in merit and should be dismissed.
Mohamund said there are five issues listed but he would speak on two.
- ‘Lagos Transporters Not Joining NLC Protest,’ – MC Oluomo Rolls Out Palliative For Commercial Drivers, Passengers In Lagos
- Breaking: Heavy Security As NLC Commences Protest Over Petrol Subsidy Removal
- Tunde Ednut Debunks Rumour Of Davido, Chioma Welcoming A Child
One of them, according to Mohamund, was the non-compliance and the conduct of the election conducted by INEC.
According to him all these revolved around the use of technology and the petitioners totally misunderstood what was used, that is the Bimodal voters accredited (BVAs) and IreV portal.
He argued that the evidence before the court showed clearly that the first respondent made sure technology was deployed for election.
The two points of disagreement, he said, were the contrivation in the minds of the petitioners that electronic collation of the results manually system was carried out.
He added that the petitioners failed to present evidence to support their allegation on electronic collation of any of the election results.
Mahmoud argued further that the petitioners alleged that the glitches that occurred during the election were orchestrated to manipulate the result of the election.
Similarly, Olanipekun (SAN), counsel for Tinubu and Shettima, urged the court to dismiss the petition for lacking in merit.
He said before the law, the petitioners have abandoned their petition, adding he would look at three areas.
He argued that noncompliance is one area that results have not been electronically uploaded to IreV is not part of the collation system.
He added that all collation was done physically.
For the 25 per cent votes of the FCT, he argued that Tinubu secured two third votes adding Obi does not have locus standi for rerun election because he was not the 1st runner up.
He further said there is no connectivity between the the petitioners and the petition.
Counsel for APC, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN aligned with the submissions of Mahmoud and Olanipekun however, said the petition is ambitious.
He added that the petitioners did not dispute that voting took place and results announced, arguing that to dispute the results, evidence must be given from every polling unit.
Responding, Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), counsel for Obi and LP, argued that the respondents have laboured in vain to understand the importance of IreV.
He added that their witness told the court during his evidence how important is the IreV.
He said the election cannot be said to be credible if INEC can give certified true copy (CTC) of 8,123 of blurred result sheets.
He added with some blank and others with picture images adding that CTC of documents should be a replica of the original copy.
He argued that there was no glitch as claimed by the respondents.
Uzoukwu submitted that the petitioners have proved their petition particularly in the allegations of non-compliance.