2023 Poll: How we will change INEC’s declaration – Peter Obi, Atiku

Presidential Poll: Atiku, Obi Head to Court - SIGNAL

With only sixteen (16) days to the much awaited swearing- in ceremony, more controversies surrounding the outcome of the February 25 presidential election continues to brew.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, the two leading rivals for the presidency in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP), respectively, have vowed to challenge in court the election victory of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on February 25, 2023.

Additionally, each of them is asking the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) to declare them the winners of the presidential election held on February 25, or to call for a new election in which Tinubu and his vice should be disqualified.

Tinubu won the election, which was declared on March 1, 2023, with a vote total of 8, 794, 726. To contest the results of the election, five political parties with their respective presidential candidates went to the registry of the Presidential Election Petition Court.

Justice Monica Dongban- Mensem, the president of the Court of Appeal, appointed a five- person panel to hear all of the petitions contesting Tinubu’ s election.

Justice Haruna Tsammani served as head of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, which met for the first time last Monday. Other members included Justices Stephen Jonah Adah, Misitura Bolaji- Yusuf, Boloukuoromo Ugoh, and Abba Mohammed.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, Tinubu’ s two fiercest competitors in the most recent presidential election, are from Anambra, in the South- East, and Adamawa, in the North- East, respectively. Justice Tsammani, the chairman of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, cautioned the attorneys for all petitioners to refrain from making spectacular statements.

However, the Action Peoples Party (APP) and the Action Alliance (AA), two of the wronged political groups, withdrew their complaints at the tribunal. The three remaining individuals have promised to continue bringing individual lawsuits against Bola Tinubu, the incoming president.

The petitioners ask that the tribunal rule that Tinubu was not legitimately elected by a majority of the valid votes cast in the election, and that the INEC be ordered to take back the certificate of return given to the APC candidate and issue a new one in their favor. On the grounds that the election was not conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Electoral Act of 2022, Atiku is requesting that the tribunal declare Tinubu’ s victory unlawful.

Atiku claimed that the integrity of the results announced by the INEC for both Tinubu and his political party— the APC— was fundamentally and significantly compromised by the bypass and non- use of the BVAS machines in the transmission of the accreditation data and polling unit results.

He further claims that INEC’ s quick declaration of Tinubu as the victor of the presidential election violates the constitution and lacks due process by citing the margin of lead concept. In his petition, Peter Obi claimed that Tinubu was ineligible to run for office and that neither he nor his running mate received a majority of the valid votes cast.

The petitioner also claimed that the election was held in material non- compliance with the law. He urged the court to either recognize him as the winner of the election because he had received the majority of valid votes, or to declare the election invalid and call for a new one.

In court, Obi offered five prayers, two of which served as substitutes for the other two. He asked the court to declare Tinubu’ s victory illegal in the second prayer because he fell short of garnering one- fourth of the valid votes cast in the FCT.

Time will tell what will happen with the APC’ s electoral victory on the one hand and the remaining petitions by three other political parties on the other. Two of the five political parties that had petitions in place opposing the nomination of Senator Bola Tinubu as president- elect have withdrawn them.


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