THE Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPT) is set to deliver judgment on Wednesday, September 6, in the case of Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) against the winner of the February 25, 2023 presidential election, and incumbent President Bola Tinubu.
The Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Umar Bangari, confirmed this to The ICIR in a telephone chat on Monday, September 4.
“Yes, it is confirmed. The date is September 6. I am sending the statement to your chapel chairman now,” Bangari said.
Judgement on the case of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) has also been scheduled for the same day.
Bangari also added the proceedings would be open to live broadcast by interested media organisations.
The ICIR reported that the Presidential Election Tribunal on Tuesday, August 1, reserved judgment on the petitions filed by Abubakar and Obi against Tinubu’s victory.
In different suits, Atiku and Obi are challenging Tinubu’s declaration as the election winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In Atiku’s case, the respondents in the suit are INEC, Tinubu and the All Progressives Party (APC).
After adopting the parties’ final written addresses, the tribunal reserved judgment on the petition.
The tribunal’s chairman, Simon Haruna Tsammani, announced that the verdict would be given at a later time that would be made known to all parties.
The lead lawyer for Atiku, Chris Uche, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), stated in his concluding statement that no presidential election had ever been nullified in the country, which should not be a reason for not rejecting the result of the 2023 poll.
He maintained that the technical difficulties encountered during the transfer of results were intentional to permit manipulation.
Uche requested that Tinubu be removed from office due to the American Court ruling that ordered him to forfeit $460,000 for drug and money laundering-related offences.
He also requested that the tribunal consider the European Union (EU) report on the election.
Uche, however, urged the Tribunal to either grant the petitioner’s request for relief or, failing that, to void the election and order a new one.
In his submission, APC’s legal representative, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, asserted that there was no written or verbal evidence from Chicago University refuting Tinubu’s enrollment.n
Fagbemi said the forfeiture was a civil one and was not a disqualification factor.
He added that the United States of America had awarded his client a clean bill of health.
Regarding the President’s relief from having dual citizenship, Fagbemi cited Section 137 (1a) to make the case that a citizen by birth cannot be disqualified for having citizenship in another country.
Tinubu’s counsel, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, requested that the case be dismissed because INEC is the object of Atiku and PDP’s complaints.
Olanipekun argued that the petition should be dismissed because it was without merit and referred to the petitioner as an intrusive outsider.
He added that the FCT counts as the 37th state for electoral purposes. In Abuja, the second respondent received two-thirds of one-fourth of the votes.
Lawyer to INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, said the petitioners’ evidence demonstrated INEC’s sincere intentions to use technology to hold a legitimate election.
He claimed that the petition utterly failed to prove that human meddling caused the IReV problem and that it harmed the election’s result.
The Presidential Election Petition tribunal also reserved judgment in the suit filed by Obi of the LP.
Obi, who came third in the election, filed a petition in March challenging the outcome of the February 25 poll.
Obi and his party are asking the court to nullify Tinubu’s victory.
In their final written address dated July 20, the petitioners insisted that Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima were not qualified to contest the poll.
The petitioners also argued that Tinubu, due to the forfeiture of $460,000 in the US and his failure to receive 25 per cent of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Tinubu should not have been declared President.
Obi ended his case on June 23 after interrogating 13 witnesses.
Apart from the Presidential Tribunal, at least 25 of the 28 states where elections were held are also contesting the results announced by INEC.