On March 1, INEC’s Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu announced President Bola Tinubu as winner of the Presidential election polls with 8,794,726 votes while Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi of the Labour Party were said to have scored 6,984,520 votes and 6,101,533 votes, respectively.
Thereafter, Obi and LP challenged the outcome of the election on March 20 by filing a petition seeking the nullification of the declaration of Bola Tinubu as president-elect.
On ground one, Obi and Labour Party legal team led by Dr. Livy Uzoukwu SAN alleged that Tinubu should be disqualified from the election over a United District Court judgement which forced him to forfeit 460,000 US dollars suspected to be proceeds of drug trafficking. The petition also added that Shettima knowingly allowed himself to be nominated as the Vice Presidential candidate to Tinubu when he was still a senatorial candidate for the Borno Central Constituency at the time the APC held its presidential primary election in July 2022.
They further alleged that the election of the incumbent president should be declared invalid stating reasons of corrupt practices or non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022. They insisted that it cannot stand because INEC made the deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machine mandatory for the accreditation of voters and real-time uploading of results which according to them, the commission failed to do so on election day, contrary to the INEC own laws and regulations.
On ground 3, the petitioner claimed that Bola Ahmed Tinubu was not duly elected by majority of the lawful ballots cast during the election and did not get 25 percent of the votes cast in Abuja and other Federal Capital Territory as required by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under Section 134.
In view of this, Obi urged the Court to declare the election of Tinubu invalid presenting 5 prayers to suit his arguments while producing several witnesses to prove his arguments. The team of testifiers include a cloud engineer, INEC presiding officers, cyber security expert and a professor of Mathematics. The professor claimed that 18,088 polling unit results on the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal were blurred, which according to him has short changed Obi by 2.5 million votes.
In response, Tinubu Legal Team only brought forth a one-star witness, namely, Senator Michael Opeyemi, to discountenance Obi’s submissions of FCT, IREV and LP membership. Mr Bamidele, while being led in his testimony by senior lawyer Lateef Fagbemi, said Mr Obi joined the opposition Labour Party while he was still holding his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party, another opposition party. Among other documents, Mr Bamidele tendered the membership registration file of the Labour Party as of April 25, 2022, which showed that Mr Obi was not a member because his name could not be found on the list. The party’s registration document for Anambra also did not include Mr Obi’s name as of that period.
TINUBU FINAL REQUEST
The legal team of President Bola Tinubu and his Vice while submitting its final written address against the petition of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, before the Presidential Election Petition Court.
Tinubu and Shettima’s team narrated how Obi “woefully failed” to discharge the burden of proof binding on him to show that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rigged the polls in their client’s favour on February 25.
Tinubu maintained that the petitioners called a total of 13 witnesses against his election victory, alleging their evidence and testimonies were characterized by hearsay and irrelevance that would convince the court to void his victory.
In the alternative, his legal team said if the election would by cancelled by the court as requested by Obi, then he should be barred from contesting the rerun having allegedly violated several electoral laws including the period he joined the LP from the Peoples Demcocratic Party, PDP.