The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal PEPC will on Wednesday, September 6 deliver judgment on the three petitions challenging the declaration of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the 2023 presidential election by the Independent Electoral Commission.
Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi, candidate of the Labour Party (LP are two of the petitioners challenging Tinubu’s victory.
Oba Olusesan highlights some crucial facts concerning the tribunal, its work thus far, and what to expect in the future.
1. INEC had declared Tinubu as the winner of the election having polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat PDP’s candidate Atiku who secured 6,984,520 votes and Obi of the Labour Party (LP) who got 6,101,533 votes.
2 The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal PEPC held its inaugural sitting on May 8, 2023, and the five members are Justice Haruna Tsammani (the President), Justice Stephen Adah, Justice Monsurat Bolaji-Yusuf, Justice Moses Ugo and Justice Abba Mohammed
3. Separate applications were filed before the tribunal by five political parties, including the PDP, LP, Action Peoples Party (APP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), and Action Alliance (AA), attempting to overturn Tinubu’s win.
4. The APP and AA dropped their petitions shortly after the pre-hearing process began in May.
5. Chris Uche is leading the legal team of PDP’s Atiku while Levi Uzoukwu is the head of the team for Obi. Wole Olanipekun heads the legal team of Tinubu. All of them are Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
6. Among other things, the petitioners claimed Tinubu and his vice-president, Kashim Shettima, were ineligible to run for president and vice president.
7. The petitioners stated that the president was indicted in the US for drugs, that his academic certificates provided to the IINEC were faked, and that Tinubu is a Guinean citizen.
8. The petitioners further claimed that Tinubu should not have been declared the winner of the February 25 election because he did not get 25% of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
9. On August 1, a five-member tribunal panel withheld judgment after hearing the final written speeches from Atiku and Obi’s counsels.
10. Although the court’s decision is not final because a dissatisfied party can still appeal to the Supreme Court, many believe that the jurists’ decision will set the tone for the Supreme Court’s ultimate ruling, whether in concurrence or dissent.
11. The election petition tribunal has three conceivable outcomes; the first outcome is that the tribunal upholds the election result as originally announced by INEC; the second outcome is that the election is nullified and a new election is ordered; and the third outcome is that the election result is rejected, the initially declared winner is removed, and the petitioner is installed as the actual winner of the election.
12. If the tribunal rules that the election was unlawful and orders a new election, INEC must hold the new poll within three months of the ruling.
13. If either of the petitioners or the respondents are unsatisfied with the tribunal’s judgement, they can further take their grievances to the Supreme Court and any judgment handed out by the apex court is final. Petitions against the outcome of a presidential election are filed at the Court of Appeal.