Tribunal rejects Tinubu’s bid to dismiss petition challenging his qualification

PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), faced a setback in their attempt to halt the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) from challenging his qualification for the February 25 presidential election.

At its resumed sitting on Monday, June 19, the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) rejected the effort of Tinubu, led by his counsel Wole Olanipekun, to dismiss the APM’s petition based on a Supreme Court judgment delivered on May 26.

Tinubu argued that the Supreme Court had already addressed the sole issue raised in the APM’s petition in a separate case filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He urged the court to apply the spirit and content of the Supreme Court judgment to dismiss the hearing of the APM’s petition.

However, the court disagreed with Tinubu’s stance and emphasised the importance of a fair hearing, stating that the party should not be excluded.

The justice, Haruna Simon Tsammani-led tribunal, advised the President to present his objections to the petition during the final stages of the court proceedings rather than attempting to dismiss it at its early stage.

The APC, represented by counsel Charles Edosomwen, also raised similar objections to the petition on the same grounds, but the PEPC rejected its arguments as well.

Before the court proceedings, the APM’s lawyer, Gideon Ijiagbonya, informed the court that they had received the Supreme Court judgment that Tinubu’s counsel sought to use to terminate the petition.

Ijiagbonya said that after assessing the judgment, the party concluded that there was merit to the petition and requested a hearing.

He requested an adjournment until June 26 to obtain a crucial document from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to support their case.

In response, the tribunal denied the request for a week-long adjournment and scheduled the hearing for Wednesday, June 21.

INEC had declared Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.

According to INEC, Tinubu secured 8,794,726 votes, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had 6,984,520, while the Labour Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, polled 6,101,533.



    However, several parties, including the APM, are at the tribunal to challenge Tinubu’s victory and eligibility at the poll. Specifically, the party has asked the tribunal to nullify Tinubu’s election for failing to comply with the 2022 Electoral Act.

    It argued that the withdrawal of Ibrahim Masari as the initially nominated Vice-Presidential candidate of the APC invalidated Tinubu’s candidacy under Section 131(c) and 142 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

    The party contended that there was a three-week gap between Masari’s expressed intention to withdraw, the actual withdrawal of his nomination, and Tinubu’s replacement of him with Shettima.

    The APM further claimed that Tinubu’s nomination had expired when he nominated Shettima as Masari’s replacement.

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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