Presidential Poll: S’Court to hear Atiku, Obi’s case against Tinubu next Monday

PDP, APC, LP reel out security plans ahead of polls

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA—The Supreme Court has fixed Monday to hear separate appeals that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his counterpart in the Labour Party, LP, Mr. Peter Obi, filed to nullify President Bola Tinubu’s election victory.null

The apex court communicated the date through hearing notices it sent to all the parties on Thursday.https://live.primis-amp.tech/content/video/amp/videoIframe.php?s=114290#amp=1

The duo, in their appeals, are praying the apex court to set aside the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, which affirmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as the valid winner of the presidential election that held on February 25.

Whereas Atiku, through his consortium of 67 lawyers that comprised of 18 Senior Advocates of Nigeria led by Chief Chris Uche, SAN, filed 35 grounds of appeal to challenge Tinubu’s election victory, Obi, through his own team of lawyers led by Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, filed 51 grounds of appeal before the Supreme Court.

Both Atiku who came second in the election and Obi who came third, are seeking to set aside the judgement of the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel of the PEPC, which had on September 6, dismissed petitions they filed against Tinubu.

Specifically, Atiku, contended that the verdict of the PEPC was not only “against the weight of evidence”, but occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice against him.

The former Vice President insisted that the PEPC panel erred in law, when it failed to nullify the presidential election on the grounds of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022, even when evidence showed that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, acted in breach of extant laws and regulations guiding the conduct of elections.

He accused the PEPC of reaching its unanimous decision based on gross misconstruction and misrepresentation of provisions of both the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and the Electoral Act, 2022.

According to him, “The lower court erred in law when it refused to uphold the mandatoriness of electronic transmission of results for confirmation and verification of final results introduced by the Electoral Act 2022 for transparency and integrity of results in accordance with the principles of the Act.”https://4e82260626738fa414faca1827d7a10b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html?n=0

He argued that section 64(4) & (5) of the Electoral Act, as well as INEC’s Regulations & Guidelines for the conduct of the election, which he tendered in evidence, made mandatory, the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, machines for electronic transmission of results of the election directly from the polling units to INEC’s collation system for the verification, confirmation and collation of results before the announcement.

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Meanwhile, in his own appeal, Obi argued that the PEPC panel erred in law and thereby reached a wrong conclusion when it dismissed his petition.

He alleged that the panel wrongly evaluated the proof of evidence he adduced before it and occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice when it held that he did not specify polling units where irregularities occurred during the election.

Obi and the LP further faulted the PEPC for dismissing their case on the premise that they did not specify the figures of votes or scores that were allegedly suppressed or inflated in favour of President Tinubu and the APC.

They equally accused the Justice Tsammani-led panel of erring in law when it relied on paragraphs 4(1) (d) (2) and 54 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act 2022 to strike out paragraphs of the petition.https://4e82260626738fa414faca1827d7a10b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html?n=0

While accusing the lower court of breaching his right to a fair hearing, Obi, insisted that evidence of his witnesses were wrongly dismissed as incompetent.

He told the apex court that the panel unjustly dismissed his allegation that INEC uploaded 18, 088 blurred results on its IReV portal.

Obi insisted that the PEPC overlooked evidence that established that President Tinubu was previously indicted and fined the sum of $460, 000 in the USA over his involvement in a drug-related case.

“Imposition of a fine is not limited to a criminal conviction, as the word, in law, includes a civil forfeiture,” Obi further argued in his appeal.

Meantime, President Tinubu and the APC have since asked the apex court to dismiss the appeals which they said were bereft of merit.https://4e82260626738fa414faca1827d7a10b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html?n=0

President Tinubu further urged the court to reject an application that Atiku filed for permission to tender a copy of his certificate that was released by the Chicago State University in the USA.

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