On Wednesday, September 6, 2023, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) dismissed all of Peter Obi and the Labour Party’s petitions against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, affirming him as the rightful winner of the February 25 presidential election.
Following the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) declaration of Tinubu as the victor on March 1, 2023, Obi and his party lodged petitions at the PEPT in an attempt to contest the president’s election.
However, the PEPT, in its verdicts, rejected all the petitions filed by the former Governor of Anambra State and his party.
Below is the breakdown of the premises on which the petitions were dismissed.
Petition: The LP and Obi alleged that the 2023 election was fraught with irregularities.
Verdict: The court ruled that the petitioners failed to give specific details of where the alleged infractions took place.
Petition: Obi and the LP maintained that the election was rigged in 18, 088 polling units across the federation.
Verdict: The court held that the petitioners failed to state the locations of the said polling units during the hearing of the case.
The court said, “It is unimaginable that a petitioner will allege widespread rigging in 176,000 polling units, over 8,000 wards, 774 LGAs, 36 states and FCT without stating the specific place where the alleged irregularities occur.”
Petition: The petitioners also alleged over-voting and accused INEC of adding some of its figures to Tinubu’s votes.
Verdict: The court held that the petitioners failed to state the polling units where over-voting occurred or the exact figures of unlawful votes that were credited to Tinubu by the INEC.
Petition: Obi and LP intended to rely on spreadsheets as well as forensic reports and expert analysis of their expert witnesses to prove that the election was marred by irregularities
Verdict: The petitioners failed to attach the documents to the petition or serve the same on the respondents as required by the law.
“Labour Party made generic allegations of irregularities and said they would rely on spreadsheets, inspection reports, and forensic analysis but the documents promised by the petitioners were not attached to the petition,” the court said.
Petition: The petitioners made allegations that bordered on violence, non-voting, suppression of votes, fictitious entry of election results and corrupt practices.
Verdict: The court ruled that Obi and his party failed to give particulars of specific polling units where the incidents took place.
The court said, “The law is very clear that where someone alleged irregularities in a particular polling unit, such person must prove the particular irregularities in that polling unit for him to succeed in his petition.”
Petition: INEC committed fraud for failing to upload the presidential results on IREV in real time as stated in the guidelines for the election.
Verdict: The court ruled that the mode of transfer of results is at the discretion of INEC and that the guidelines of the electoral body are not the law. The law only says that results should be transferred.
Petition: The petitioners claimed that Tinubu’s election should be overturned because he was not qualified to contest due to his drug case in the United States.
Verdict: According to Justice Haruna Tsammani, “The petitioners evidently failed to establish their allegation that the 2nd respondent is disqualified from contesting the presidential election under section 137 (1)(d) of the 1999 constitution because he was fined $460,000 by a district court in Illinois.
The order of forfeiture in exhibit P5 on which the petitioners have relied does not qualify as a sentence of fine for an offence involving dishonesty or fraud within the formulation of section 137 (d) of the 1999 constitution.”
Petition: Obi and the Labour Party claimed Tinubu was not qualified to be declared winner of the election because he failed to secure 25% in the Federal Capital Territory.
Verdict: The court held that the petitioners’ interpretation of the 25% votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory is “fallacious.”
Justice Tsammani said, “The futility and hollowness in the arguments of the petitioners that the votes of the voters in the FCT have more weight than others in other parts of the country to the extent that their votes purportedly have a greater effect on other votes is null and void.”
The crux of the judgment was that, several allegations in the petitions were “vague, imprecise, nebulous and bereft of particular materials