Today’s Headlines: Tinubu Won 2023 Presidential Election, Court Declares; LP: Justice Wasn’t Served
The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has upheld the election victory of President Bola Tinubu.
Yesterday, the court dismissed the petitions filed by Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party and his party, as well as Alhaji Abubakar Atiku and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a judgment that lasted over 12 hours, Justice Haruna Tasmani stated that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.
Atiku and the PDP based their joint petition on alleged irregularities, corrupt practices, and substantial non-compliance with electoral laws. They also claimed that Tinubu was unqualified to participate in the election due to alleged offenses, including the forfeiture of $460,000 in the US, forgery, and dual citizenship.
In the leading judgment delivered by Justice Tsammani, the court emphasized that to nullify an election, there must be substantial evidence of non-compliance, corrupt practices, and other irregularities.
The tribunal noted that the petitioners did not provide specific details of malpractices in their petitions, and the testimony of the few witnesses called could not be relied upon as they had not personally witnessed the alleged acts of irregularities or corrupt practices.
LP: Justice Wasn’t Served
Various reactions have emerged in response to the judgment that upheld the victory of President Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the recent presidential election.
The Labour Party (LP) has rejected the verdict, asserting that it was unjust and did not align with the law and the people’s desires. The LP will reveal its next steps after consulting with lawyers upon receiving the Certified True Copy of the judgments, urging supporters of democracy to remain hopeful.
However, Prince Adewole Adebayo, the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), praised the verdict as being sound in fact and law, conforming to constitutional and legal principles. He encouraged Atiku and Mr. Obi to congratulate President Tinubu and consider future presidential bids in 2027.
Legal practitioner Ide Goddy Uwazurike expressed concern that the verdict showcased weaknesses in Nigeria’s justice system, with technicalities prevailing over justice.
Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), however, asserted that the verdict aligned with established legal principles governing election litigations in Nigeria. He reminded dissatisfied parties of their right to appeal to the Supreme Court to challenge the tribunal’s decisions.
A pro-democracy group, the Coalition of Good Governance and Change Initiative (CGGCI), called on all parties to accept the tribunal’s ruling. The national coordinator of CGGCI, Okpokwu Ogenyi, conveyed this message during a peaceful walk at the Federal Secretariat road in Abuja, the venue of the PEPT sitting.
PEPC: PDP, Atiku Reject Court Judgment
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have wholly rejected the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court.
According to the opposition party, the justices’ decision defies logic and fails to consider facts, constitutional provisions, and the Electoral Act. Hon. Debo Ologunagba, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, made this statement in Abuja.
He said, “Few moments ago, the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) delivered Judgment in the Petition filed by our Party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the All Progressives Congress, (APC), and Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, over the declaration of the APC and Senator Tinubu as Winner of the February 25, 2023 Presidential election by INEC.
“As a Party, we have had an initial review of the Judgment as delivered by the PEPC and we unequivocally reject the said Judgement in its entirety.
“The Judgement is against reason, against the facts and evidence presented in Court; against the relevant Electoral Laws, Guidelines and Regulations as well as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
“Indeed, the Judgment is generous in technicalities and very short in delivering substantial justice in the matter.
“The PDP, as a law-abiding political Party, will with our lawyers, have a comprehensive review of the Judgment and decide on the next line of action within the ambit of the law.
“The PDP calls on Nigerians to remain alert, calm and united as our Party continues to lead the charge to defend Democracy and ensure that the will of the people as expressed in the February 25, 2023 Presidential election is respected and restored.”
17-year-old Boy Locks in Parents, Steals Car, Others
A 17-year-old boy named Ayomiposi Esan allegedly stole three mobile phones, two generator sets, a sound system, and a Toyota Corolla car from his parents, Mr. Oluwafemi and Mrs. Tosin. He locked his parents inside their home in Ogijo, Sagamu Local Government Area of Ogun State, and fled with the stolen items on September 3, 2023.
Residents in the area helped free the parents after their son had escaped with the stolen items. The victims reported the incident to the Ogijo Divisional Police Station, and Superintendent of Police, Awode Olatunde, led his team to arrest Ayomiposi in Lagos as he was trying to find buyers for the stolen items.
The state Public Relations Officer, Omolola Odutola, confirmed the incident and stated that the police intended to prosecute the boy but couldn’t do so because the parents opposed it.