Four presidential candidates on Tuesday approached the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja with separate petitions, seeking the nullification of the declaration of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress as winner of the February 25 presidential poll.
The petitioners, seeking nullification of Tinubu’s emergence as President-elect as Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party; Peter Obi of Labour Party; Solomon Okangbuan of Action Alliance and Allied People’s Movement’s Chichi Ojei.
Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party came second with 6,984,520 votes; while Obi came third with 6,101,533 votes.
The petition by Obi and LP, marked CA/PEPC/03/2023, had INEC, Tinubu, his running mate, Shettima Kashim, and the APC as respondents.
In the petition, Obi further contended that Tinubu “was not duly elected by majority of the lawful votes cast at the time of the election.”
Obi claimed there was rigging in 11 states, adding that he would demonstrate this in the declaration of results based on the uploaded results.
The petition read, “The petitioners shall show that in the computation and declaration of the result of the election, based on the updated results, the votes recorded for the second respondent (Tinubu) did not comply with the legitimate process for the computation of the result and disfavoured the petitioners in the following states: Rivers, Lagos, Taraba, Benue, Adamawa, Imo, Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Plateau and other states of the federation.’’
Obi and LP said INEC violated its own regulations when it announced the result despite the fact that at the time of the announcement, the totality of the polling unit results had yet to be fully scanned, uploaded and transmitted electronically as required by the Electoral Act.
Among other prayers, the petitioners urged the tribunal to “determine that, at the time of the presidential election held on February 25,, 2023, the second and third respondents (Tinubu and Shettima) were not qualified to contest the election.
“That it be determined that all the votes recorded for the second respondent in the election are wasted votes, owing to the non-qualification of the second and third respondents.
“That it be determined that on the basis of the remaining votes (after discountenancing the votes credited to the second respondent) the first petitioner (Obi) scored a majority of the lawful votes cast at the election and had not less than 25 per cent of the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and satisfied the constitutional requirements to be declared winner of the February 25, 2023 presidential election.
“That it be determined that the second 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 February 25, 2023.’’
Alternatively, the petitioners are also asking the tribunal for an order cancelling the election and compelling INEC to conduct a fresh election in which Tinubu, Shettima and APC shall not participate.
The tribunal has yet to fix a date for the hearing of the petition filed by the petitioners’ lead counsel, Livy Ozoukwu.
Atiku and PDP’s petition was marked marked CA/PEPC/05/2023, with INEC, Tinubu and APC listed as respondents.
A member of Atiku’s legal team, Silas Onu, confirmed the filing of the petition to Channels TV on Tuesday.
Essentially, the petition wants Tinubu’s victory nullified.
When contacted for reaction on Tuesday, Chief Press Secretary to INEC, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said the commission does not comment on cases filed by political parties.
Also, Chief Spokesman for the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, disclosed that his principal would not oblige the LP candidate an official response since the case is in court.
Keyamo said, “The APC PCC has no reaction to the petition. Now that the case is officially in court, at my level in the profession and for those of us who know what it means to obey the rule of law, the argument now officially shifts to court.”
Meanwhile, the Action Alliance and its presidential candidate, Solomon Okangbuan, and Allied People’s Movement and its presidential candidate, Chichi Ojei, have also lodged separate petitions before the court.
In the suits marked CA/PEPC/03/2023 and CA/PEPC/04/2023, Okangbuan and Ojei, are respectively challenging the outcome of the presidential election on the grounds of alleged substantial non-compliance with the electoral laws as well as the guidelines of the INEC.
The AA claimed that its candidate was excluded, based on which the election should be voided.
On its part, the APM claimed that Tinubu was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the election by virtue of the provisions of sections 131(c) and 142 of the Constitution and section 35 of the Electoral Act 2022.