Nigeria's APC wants Obi's petition on Tinubu victory dismissed

Tuesday April 11 2023
Nigeria's presidential-elect Bola Tinubu

Nigeria's presidential-elect Bola Tinubu. Hi party, the All Progressives Congress on April 10, 2023 urged the country’s Presidential Election Petition Court to dismiss the petition filed by Labour Party's Peter Obi PHOTO | PIUS UTOMI EKPE | AFP


Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday urged the country’s Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja to dismiss the petition filed by the Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate Peter Obi against the declaration of Bola Tinubu as president-elect in the February 25 electionr. 

The party asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition with costs on the grounds that it lacked merit and was frivolous. 

Obi and LP had sued Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Tinubu, Nigeria’s vice president-elect Kashim Shettima and APC seeking the nullification of the presidential poll results. 

While Nigeria’s former vice president Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) came second with 6,984,520 votes in the election, Obi came third with 6,101,533 votes.

Read: Nigeria’s Atiku Abubakar: Sixth time unlucky

Abubakar and PDP are also challenging the outcome of the poll.

Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar

Nigeria's president-elect Tinubu (L) and Atiku Abubakar (R) who came second in the country's February 25 presidential election. PHOTO | MOHAMMED MOMOH

However, in the petition by Obi and LP’s lead counsel Livy Ozoukwu, they contended that Tinubu was not duly elected by majority of the lawful votes cast at the time of the election.

The petitioners claimed there was rigging in 11 states, adding that they would demonstrate this in the declaration of results based on the uploaded results. 

Obi and LP said INEC violated its own regulations when it announced the result despite the fact that at the time of the announcement, the totality of the polling unit results had yet to be fully scanned, uploaded and transmitted electronically as required by the country’s electoral act.

Among other prayers, the petitioners urged the tribunal to determine that at the time of the presidential election Tinubu and Shettima were not qualified to contest the election.

APC’s argument

in response, APC urged the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that Obi lacked requisite locus standi to institute the petition because he was not a member of LP at least 30 days to the party’s presidential primary for him to be validly sponsored by the party.

Nigeria's opposition Labour Party candidate Peter Obi

Nigeria's Labour Party presidential candidate in the country's concluded February presidential election. PHOTO | PIUS UTOMI EKPEI | AFP

It further stated that all the PDP’s presidential candidates were screened on April 29, 2022, an exercise which Obi participated in and was cleared to contest while being a member of the party. 

Read: Nigeria's surprise presidential challenger

It argued that the petition was incompetent since Obi’s name could not have been in LP’s register made available to INEC as at the time he joined the party. 

APC equally argued that the petition was improperly constituted, having failed to enjoin Atiku Abubakar and PDP who were necessary parties to be affected by the reliefs sought.

The party said the petition was in breach of the mandatory provisions of Nigeria’s Electoral Act. 

It said that the allegations of non-compliance must be made distinctly and proved on polling unit basis, but none was specified or provided in any of the petitions. 

On Tinubu’s qualification to contest the election, the party argued that the tribunal lacked the requisite jurisdiction to entertain pre-election complaints embedded in the petition as presently constituted, among other arguments.