Election dispute: Tribunal reserves judgement in Obi’s petition against Tinubu

Less than two months to the expiration of the period for hearing and determination of election petition, parties in a petition by Mr. Peter Obi and the Labour Party challenging the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election on Tuesday, adopted their final written addresses.

Obi and his party, in their joint petition want the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) sitting in Abuja to annul Tinubu’s election on the grounds of substantial non compliance with the provisions of the Constitution, the Electoral Act and guidelines for the conduct of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Lead counsel to INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) while adopting the final written address on behalf of his client, submitted that Obi and LP’s petition should be dismissed for lacking in merit.

He told the court that, the petitioners failed to show that, there was electronic collation of results in any election in the country, adding that, what was in the place of electronic collation was the manual collation system.

On the technical glitch, Mahmoud said the petitioners failed to prove the allegation that the glitch was caused by human interference and that, their claim failed since they cannot establish the allegation.

He said, “The glitch that occurred, which affected transmission for about four hours does not affect the election results”, and urged the Court to dismiss the petition for lacking in merit.

Tinubu, through his lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) said, from the results declared, Tinubu scored one quarter of the two-thirds of votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and added that, there is no nexus between the petition, the reliefs and the parties and urged the court to dismiss the petition for, “been a jurisprudential fiction”.

Counsel to APC, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), while adopting the party’s final written address said, even if the court ordered a re-run of the presidential election, Obi is not qualified to participate as it is a horse race between a winner of an election and the person who came second in the election.

Fagbemi said the FCT does not enjoy any special status as far as the presidential election is concerned, explaining that, a candidate does not need to score 25 percent of votes cast in the FCT for him to be declared winner of a presidential election.

Dr Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), lead Counsel to Obi and his party told the court that the respondents have laboured in vain to degrade and dismiss the importance of I-ReV in an election, adding that the Supreme Court held in the case of Oyetola and INEC that I-ReV is part of an electoral process.

He said, “An election in which 18,088 blurred results are uploaded to INEC portal is a very poor election” and that, it is not in doubt that Tinubu forfeited the sum of $460, 000, being proceeds of narcotics trafficking.

After all the parties adopted their final written addresses, Justice Haruna Tsammani, leading other four other Justices of the court reserved judgment to a date that would be communicated to parties in the petition.