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Wednesday, 22 March 2023

2023 Presidential Election: Declare me winner or cancel election, Obi tells tribunal



Three presidential candidates and their political affiliations in the February 25 elections have urged the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) to nullify the victory of Bola Tinubu of the All Progresives Congress (APC) on the grounds  that he was not qualified to contest the election.


The petitioners include the Labour Party (LP) and its candidate, Mr. Peter Obi; the Action Alliance (AA) and its presidential candidate, Solomon David Okangbuan and Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and its presidential flagbearer, Ojei Princess Chichi.

In their separate petitions lodged at the registry of the tribunal, the petitioners are all seeking the nullification of the result of the February 25, presidential election.

In his petition marked CA/PEPC) /03/2023, the LP and Peter Obi contended that Tinubu was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the time of the election.

They are contending that having failed to score one-quarter of votes cast at the presidential election at the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Tinubu was not entitled to be declared and returned as the winner of the election.

Tinubu, was declared winner after he polled 8.8 million votes to defeat his closest challenger, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, declared him president-elect on 1 March in Abuja.

But Mr Obi had in the early hours of March 20, filed his petition at the registry of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

He listed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Bola Tinubu, Shettima Kashim (vice president-elect) and the APC as respondents.

His petition filed by his lead counsel, Livy Ozoukwu, SAN, was predicated on the grounds that “at the time of the (presidential) election, Tinubu was not qualified to contest the election and that he was not duly elected by majority of the lawful votes cast at the time of the election.”

Obi urged the tribunal to “determine that at the time of the presidential election held on 25 February, 2023,” Messrs Tinubu and Shettima “were not qualified to contest the election.”

He prayed the tribunal “to determine that all the votes recorded for” Mr Tinubu “in the election are wasted votes, owing to the non-qualification” of the president-elect and Mr Shettima.

“That it be determined that the 2nd Respondent (Mr 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 25 February, 2023.”

Mr. Obi are seeking reliefs in the alternative; either that he be declared as the winner having scored majority of lawful votes cast, or that the entire election be nullified.

He said, “an order cancelling the election and compelling the 1st respondent (INEC) to conduct a fresh election at which the 2nd Respondent (Tinubu), 3rd respondent (Shettima) and 4th respondent (APC) shall not participate.”

In their petition marked CA/PEPT/01/2023, the Action Alliance (AA) and its candidate, Solomon David Okangbuan are urging the tribunal to nullify the presidential election on the grounds of exclusion of its presidential candidate.

on their part, the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and its candidate, Ojei Princess Chichi, they are contenting Tinubu was at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the election by virtue of the provisions of sections 131 (c) and 142 of the 1999 Constitution and section 35 of the Electoral Act, 2022.

That the declaration and return of Tinubu as the dully elected president are invalid by reason of non compliance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and Electoral Act, 2022.

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