THE Presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, Labour Paty (LP), Peter Obi, Action Alliance (AA), Chichi Ojei and Solomon Okangbuan of Allied Peoples Movement (APM), have all met the deadline for the submission of petitions at the Presidential Election Tribunal.
Under the law guiding election petitions, an petition must be presented and filed within 21 days of the declaration of the result.
When a petitioner misses the deadline to file his petition and is later ruled to be statute-barred, he forfeits his right to bring the case.
The four presidential candidates met the deadline for submitting their separate petitions on Tuesday, March 21.
The Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, announced the result of the election on March 1.
According to the result released by INEC, Tinubu scored a total of 8,794,726 votes to defeat Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who polled a total of 6,984,520 votes, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), who came third with 6,101,533 votes.
The spokesperson of the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko, announced the submission of Obi’s petition on his official Twitter handle on Tuesday, March 21.
“It is official. The Labor Party Presidential candidate Peter OBI has filed his petition to the presidential elections tribunal in Abuja. The process of reclaiming the people’s mandate has started.” he tweeted.
Obi and the LP’s petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023 had INEC, President-elect Tinubu, his running mate, Kashim Shettima, and the APC as respondents.
Obi stated in the petition that there was rigging in 11 states, and he promised to prove it based on the results that were uploaded.
Obi further claimed that Tinubu “was not duly elected by a majority of the lawful votes cast at the time of the election”.
Parts of 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 the LP said since all polling unit results had yet to be fully scanned, uploaded, and transferred electronically as required by the Electoral Act at the time of the declaration, INEC broke its own rules when it announced the result.
The petitioners also 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 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.
“That it be determined that based on 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 the winner of the February 25, 2023, presidential election.”
In addition, the petitioners request that the tribunal issue a ruling ordering INEC to hold a new election in which Tinubu, Shettima, and the APC shall not run.
The tribunal has not yet set a time to hear the petition, submitted by Livy Ozoukwu, SAN, the petitioners’ principal solicitor.
Atiku and PDP’s petition, marked CA/PEPC/05/2023, has INEC, Tinubu and APC listed as respondents.
This was disclosed to Channels TV by a member of Atiku’s legal team, Silas Onu, on Tuesday, March 21.
Atiku and PDP, in their petition, want Tinubu’s victory nullified.
The Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and its presidential candidate, Princess Chichi Ojei, and the Action Alliance (AA) and its flagbearer, Solomon Okangbuan, have also lodged separate petitions before the court.
Okangbuan and Ojei, are separately contesting the results of the presidential election in lawsuits marked CA/PEPC/04/2023 and CA/PEPC/03/2023, respectively, on the grounds of alleged material non-compliance with the electoral laws and INEC instructions.
The AA argued that the election should be declared invalid because its candidate was omitted.
On its part, the APM asserted that due to the requirements of sections 131(c) and 142 of the Constitution and section 35 of the Electoral Act 2022, Tinubu was not eligible to run in the election at the time of the election.