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Ndokwa Vanguard

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Presidential Election Petitions-By ODU FAVOUR AWELE

Jul 4, 2023


A great number of persons have been so eager and waiting patiently for the outcome of the court case between Peter Obi against Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar against Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The Nigeria presidential election held on February 25th, 2023 has left many people talking because of the electoral process. It was a very tough one, a time Nigerians desirably participated in voting because of the political failure which has led to severe economic crisis in the country.
The presidential election which was held on February 25th, 2023 had over eighteen parties with candidates who contested for the election, however; the Big Four as Nigerians titled them during the election seemed like the main contestants for the election, the candidate of the All Progressive Congress(APC) Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the candidate of the People Democratic Party(PDP) Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of Labour Party(LP) Peter Obi, and the candidate of the New Nigeria People Party(NNPP) were seen as the big four by Nigerians. However; the candidate of the All Progressive Congress(APC) Bola Ahmed Tinubu won the election with 36.61% and with the vote cast of 8,794,726 million votes. The candidate of the New Nigeria People Party(NNPP), the candidate of Labour Party(LP), the candidate of People Democratic Party(PDP), the candidate of Africa Action Congress(AAC), and the candidate of Allied People Movement(AAM) all rejected the result announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) on the ground that it was rigged with lots of fraudulent activities during and even after the election. Kwankwaso the candidate of New Nigeria People Party(NNPP) rejected the result on February 28, while Peter Obi claimed he won the election and will prove it, him and Atiku separately filled formal petitions challenging Tinubu’s victory on 22nd of March. Peter Obi urges the court to either declare him the president elect or nullify the entire election and order a rerun, as well as Atiku.
Mr. Obi and Labour Party jointly filed their petitions at the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja. Peter Obi and Labour Party are complainants of the petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023 against their Respondents the Independent National Electoral commission, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, current Vice President Kashim Shettima and the All Progressive Congress.


As part of the grounds of the petition, Mr. Obi argued that Mr. Tinubu, at the time of the (presidential) election, was not qualified to contest the election.”
The petitioner anchored this claim on the grounds that the Mr. Tinubu “was fined $460,000 for an offence involving dishonesty, namely narcotics trafficking imposed by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in case no:93C 4483″ between the United States of America and Bola Tinubu.


Concerning the alleged non-qualification of Mr. Tinubu’s running mate, Mr. Shettima, the petitioner cited his nomination for two separate constituencies – as Borno Central senatorial candidate and vice-presidential candidate for the whole of Nigeria in the same election cycle.
He said the law provided that a presidential candidate shall nominate another person as his associate who is to occupy the office of vice president.
He recalled that Mr. Tinubu had nominated Mr. Shettima as his vice-presidential candidate on 14 July 2022 while the latter was still representing Borno Central Senatorial District at the National Assembly.


He added that the APC nominated Mr. Shettima as its candidate for Borno Central Senatorial District as of 15 July 2022, while already chosen by Mr. Tinubu as his running mate.
Mr. Obi said Mr. Shettima should not have allowed himself to be nominated in more than one constituency. He said this was a violation of the provision of the Electoral Act.
He vowed to prove in court that APC’s purported sponsorship of Mr. Tinubu and Shettima while the latter was still representing Borno Central Senatorial district, rendered their candidacy invalid.


He added that for this reason, the votes purportedly recorded for Mr. Tinubu at the presidential election were/are wasted votes and ought to be disregarded.
The petitioner also contended that Mr. Tinubu was not duly elected by majority of the lawful votes cast at the time of the election.
He argued that Mr. Tinubu did not win the majority of lawful votes cast in each of at least two-third of the states of the federation and the FCT, Abuja.


He added that Mr. Tinubu was not entitled to be declared the winner of the election having failed to score one-quarter of the lawful votes cast in the FCT in the election, bordering on section 134(b) of the 1999 constitution as amended.
Atiku who also among others, seeking the withdrawal of the certificate of return that was issued to Bola Ahmed Tinubu by the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC), in his petition prayed that
The court to determine that Mr. Tinubu was not duly elected by a majority of the lawful votes cast and therefore, the president’s victory is unlawful.


He prayed the court to determine that Mr. Tinubu, at the time of the election was not qualified to contest the said election.
That it may be determined that the return of the 2nd Respondent (President Tinubu) by the 1st Respondent (INEC) was wrongful, unlawful, undue, null and void having not satisfied the requirements of the Electoral Act and the Constitution which mandatory requires Mr. Tinubu to score not less than one quarter (25%) of the lawful votes cast at the election in each of at least two thirds of all states in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.


He urges the court to declare him the presidential election winner as he scored the majority of lawful votes cast at the presidential election.
In Alternative Atiku asked the court to make order directing INEC to conduct a second election (runoff) between him and Mr. Tinubu, that the election to the office if the President of Nigeria held on 25th, February 2023 be nullified and a fresh election be ordered. Atiku and his party, the PDP prayed the court.
Atiku Abubakar also filed an application for live coverage of day-to-day proceedings on his petition.
How far has the court gone in granting or cancelling the various petitions prayed by the various candidates? The court has so far cancelled Peter Obi’s petition seeking the disqualification of Mr. Tinubu and the current Vice President Kashim Shettima on the ground that there were not qualified to contest for the election, the petition on that ground has been cancelled.
Atiku’s petition for live coverage of the day-to-day proceedings on his petition was also cancelled, this are the various Petition that has been cancelled so far.
Atiku on Thursday closes is case against Tinubu at the Presidential Election Petition Court, Peter Obi as well also closes is case against Tinubu at the Presidential Election Petition Court on Friday, this issue of closed case has brought a lot of misunderstanding among Nigerians, closing a case by a candidate either by the defendant or persecutor is when the defendant or persecutor has been done with tendering all their evidence and witnesses before the court.
The election petitions Judgement should be given very soon, one of the notorious provisions for this is section 285(6) which provides that an Election Tribunal shall deliver judgement in writing within 180 days from the day of filling of the petition, the petition judgement should be finally given by the court lastest on 22nd September, 2023.
ODU FAVOUR AWELE
A LAW STUDENT OF;
DELTA STATE UNIVERSITY.

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