THE Labour Party (LP) said it has secured the support of at least 20 senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) to challenge the outcome of the February 25 Presidential Election on behalf of its candidate, Peter Obi.
National Secretary of the party Umar Farouk disclosed this while speaking on plans to challenge the result in court.
Following the declaration of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Obi had said he would head to court to challenge the result.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in a post-election press conference, said he would challenge the result in court.
As announced by INEC, Tinubu polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat Atiku and Obi, who got 6,984,520 and 6,101,533 votes, respectively.
Both Obi and Atiku had already approached the court to seek permission for the inspection of election materials used during the polls, which were granted.
National Secretary of the Labour Party Farouk disclosed that some SANs had expressed their interest in joining the legal battle to prove Obi’s case.
Noting that INEC had lost its independence through its alleged collusion with the ruling party by giving victory to Tinubu, Farouk said the LP’s hope was vested in the judiciary to restore its mandate.
“We have more than 20 SANs that are willing to participate and offer their services for the renewal and emergence of a new Nigeria. As I am talking to you, our lawyers are working on it.
“But this is not something we can discuss on the pages of a newspaper. All I can tell you is that we have started ‘trekking’ to the court,” he said.
When prodded further on whether the party had been able to garner concrete evidence to challenge the alleged electoral malpractice, Farouk said, “The court is not a polling box that they can smash and put in what they want.
“If the APC thinks they can preempt the court, let them do it. They had earlier preempted the election that they were going to win by hook or crook and they had claimed they won. Let’s wait and see. Unlike INEC, the judiciary is a different thing.
“We have seen how independent the commission is. But we need to also examine how independent the judiciary also is in a matter of this magnitude. Let’s see the solace it can offer the masses. Let’s see if the judiciary has also shattered the hope of Nigerians just as INEC did.”
Farouk, however, couldn’t give a definite date when the case would be filed.
Reacting to Labour Party’s plan to head to court, the chief spokesman of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, said the President-Elect and his camp were not intimidated by threats being made by the opposition.
He also confirmed that the legal directorate of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) was putting together more than 12 SANs to defend his principal in the legal battle.
Keyamo, who is also a SAN, said, “The number of our advocates is around that figure (12). But I can’t confirm the exact figures at the moment. However, it doesn’t matter the number of SANs the Labour Party is parading. It is not a competition.
“I am a lawyer and can tell you specifically that the numbers don’t matter. It is all about the quality of evidence. But I can tell you that we have enough to nullify more of their votes than theirs to nullify our own.”
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.