There is Anxiety as Tinubu, Atiku, Obi, APM begin battle at Supreme Court today.
The presidential dispute between President Bola Tinubu and his opponents, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Peter Obi, and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), will recommence today at the Supreme Court. Tinubu’s supporters and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) anticipate a favorable decision from the highest court.
The APM, Obi of the Labour Party, LP, and Atiku, the PDP’s presidential candidate in the elections on February 26th, all filed separate petitions at the top court with the goal of overturning President Tinubu’s victory.
The hearing date was announced by the Supreme Court last Thursday through letters given to each party.
In addition to criticizing the Presidential Election Petition Court’s (PEPC) ruling upholding Tinubu’s election, Atiku requested authorization to present a copy of Tinubu’s academic transcripts as made available by Chicago State University (CSU), USA. According to Atiku, these records prove that Tinubu lied to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and submitted a fake CSU certificate.
The former vice president is also attempting to get the FBI to provide records on President Tinubu’s $460,000 forfeiture case to a court in Washington, D.C.
Yesterday, the PDP expressed hope that the Supreme Court will grant its appeal.
The PDP said in a statement that their confidence is based on the Constitution’s provisions and pertinent portions of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended). Debo Ologunagba is the party’s national publicity secretary.
“As the Supreme Court commences hearing on the February 25, 2023, Presidential Election Appeal, the PDP is confident that guided by the provisions of the law, the body of evidence, circumstances, and facts presented before it, the apex court will deliver justice in the matter,” Ologunagba said.
“The PDP believes that the issues of the February 2023, Presidential election; the bare-faced violation of rules and the laws, the brazen manipulations and falsifications in perversion of our electoral process have put our democracy in a precarious situation.
“Nigerians and indeed the whole world look forward to the Supreme Court for justice in the hope that the court will apply the laws, including the express provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act, 2022 and INEC Guidelines and Regulations in delivering substantial justice in the matter.
“The earnest expectation of Nigerians and lovers of democracy across the world is that the Supreme Court will use this case to firmly validate the maxim that the Judiciary is the last hope of the common man.
“Nigerians are therefore optimistic in hoping that the Supreme Court will dispense substantial Justice according to law and fact in the Appeal.”
Atiku, Obi engaged in another propaganda — Onanuga
In the meantime, supporters of Atiku and Obi have allegedly been attempting “to stampede the Washington, D.C. court to change its earlier order on FBI to release documents on President Tinubu’s forfeiture case of 1993.” according to Mr. Bayo Onanugta, Special Adviser on Information and Strategy to President Tinubu.
“The Obidients and Atiku Abubakar’s followers have begun another round of propaganda and campaign of falsehood over the move Friday by Atiku-Obi and David Hundeyin’s contractor Aaron Greenspan, to stampede the Washington DC court to change its earlier order on FBI to release documents on President Bola Tinubu’s forfeiture case of 1993.
Onanuga wrote in a tweet on X, formerly known as Twitter, on October 21.
“Atiku had wasted tons of dollars hiring Angela Liu to check President Tinubu’s record at Chicago State University. What he got in the main was a confirmation that President Tinubu attended the school, passed out in flying colors, and did not forge any certificate. The February 2023 election losers, Peter Obi and Atiku, are now attempting to cling onto another straw, hoping for magic at the Supreme Court.
“On Thursday, Peter Obi forwarded to Greenspan, the Supreme Court notice of hearing for the appeal that will begin on Monday 23 October. We do not know the brief Obi gave Greenspan, but Greenspan rushed to the District Court in the US capital, with an emergency motion asking the court to compel the FBI to produce documents on our President immediately. The FBI had earlier agreed to produce the documents at the end of October. His motion may be heard on Monday 23 October, if all parties agree.
“To support his motion, the American made some allegations against the judiciary in Nigeria, as fed by Hundeyin, Obi and Atiku. He claimed the Supreme Court hearing date which he labelled as sudden, was intended to front-run the release of the FBI documents. To him, the FBI documents are relevant to the case in Nigeria. After reading Greenspan’s motion, one is left with the impression that the guy is very ignorant of our laws and our democracy and he is nothing but an interloper, in a matter clearly outside US jurisdiction.
“To the Obidients, the easily excitable Hundeyin and Atiku followers, I will just implore you to wait until the DC District Court decides on the matter, rather than rushing to the social media space with wild conjectures and extra-judicial trial of Nigeria’s elected President. Mr Greenspan, who is your collaborator in the latest fishing expedition is not so excitable. On his Plainsite-org, he already posted a reply by the IRS that it has no FOIA records on President Tinubu’s 1993 civil case. Just like the Chicago case, this one too in DC will lead to nothing.”
Atiku, Obi, APM’s appeal
The petitioners, who all belong to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), are pleading with the Supreme Court to overturn the finding of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), which recognized Tinubu as the legitimate victor of the February 25 presidential election.
While Obi, through his own team of attorneys supervised by Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, submitted 51 grounds of appeal before the Supreme Court, Atiku, with his team of 67 lawyers, which included 18 Senior Advocates of Nigeria under the direction of Chief Chris Uche, SAN, filed 35 grounds of appeal to contest Tinubu’s victory.
The APM, on its part, filed an appeal on 10 grounds to void President Tinubu’s election.
Atiku, who finished second in the election, and Obi, who finished third, are both attempting to overturn the decision made by the five-member PEPC panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, which dismissed their petitions against Tinubu on September 6.
In addition to being “against the weight of evidence,” Atiku argued that the PEPC’s decision constituted a serious injustice against him.
Despite evidence that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had violated laws and regulations currently in effect governing election administration, he maintained that the PEPC panel had erred in law when it declined to declare the presidential election void on the grounds of non-compliance with the Electoral Act of 2022.
Atiku charged that the Electoral Act of 2022 and the 1999 Constitution, as amended, were grossly misconstrued and misrepresented in order for the PEPC to make its unanimous conclusion.
He contended that the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, or BVAS, machines for the electronic transmission of election results from polling places to INEC’s collation system for the verification, confirmation, and collation of results before announcement was mandated by section 64(4) and (5) of the Electoral Act as well as INEC’s Regulations & Guidelines for the conduct of the election, which he tendered in evidence.
The apex court was informed by Atiku that certain presiding officers who personally operated the BVAS machines at polling places on election day had confirmed, in their testimony before the PEPC, that the results of the simultaneous National Assembly election were easily transmitted electronically, while the results of the presidential election were not transmitted electronically from the BVAS machines.
Atiku informed the supreme court that there was widespread non-compliance with the Electoral Act, affecting 176, 846 voting places nationally. He said that this had a significant impact on the election’s result.
Atiku contended that the constitutional requirement of one-quarter of the votes in two-thirds of the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, was an extra and necessary requirement to the rules pertaining to the highest lawful votes and, as such, a prerequisite to an INEC declaration.
“The said FCT, Abuja, cannot be construed as the 37th state of Nigeria as done by the lower court in the light of the clear provisions of section 2(2) & section 3(1) of the 1999 Constitution. The lower court failed in its duty to interpret the material word ‘AND’ in the said sub-section.
“The provision of section 134(2) (b) of the Constitution is clear on the requirement that a presidential candidate must score at least 25% of the total votes in the FCT, Abuja.”
Among other things, he asked the Supreme Court to rule that Tinubu was not legitimately elected by the majority of valid votes cast in the election and to declare him ineligible to be named the victor.
Atiku asked the court to order a run-off between him and Tinubu or to declare the entire poll invalid and require INEC to conduct a new one, in addition to pleading with the court to proclaim him the legitimate victor of the election and order his inauguration as president. APC, Tinubu, and INEC were cited as responders.
Appeal Court erred —Peter Obi
In his own appeal, Obi contended that the PEPC panel’s decision to reject his petition was incorrect due to legal errors.
He claimed that the panel misapplied its judgment in assessing the information he presented to it and committed a serious injustice when it decided that he had neglected to identify the polling places where anomalies transpired during the election.
Obi and the LP also criticized the PEPC for rejecting their case on the grounds that they failed to provide specific numbers for the votes or scores that they claimed were manipulated or manipulated to favor President Tinubu and the APC.
The panel chaired by Justice Tsammani was accused of making legal errors when it excluded certain parts from the petition by citing paragraphs 4(1) (d) (2) and 54 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act 2022.
He claimed before the supreme court that his claim that INEC submitted 18, 088 blurry results to its IReV platform was unfairly rejected by the panel.
In addition, Obi claimed that the lower court disregarded his claim that the certified true copies of the documents, which INEC sent to his legal team, included 8, 123 blurry results that claimed to be the CTC of polling place results for the presidential election but instead contained blank A4 papers, pictures, and images of unidentified people.
“The learned justices of the court below erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice when they concluded that he failed to establish the allegation of corrupt practices and over-voting,” Obi continued.
He claimed that the lower court erred in rejecting his claim that INEC disregarded its own rules by refusing to electronically transfer election results from polling places to the IReV by citing the legal doctrine of estoppel.
Obi argued that the evidence showing President Tinubu was previously charged with a narcotics offense and fined $460,000 in the United States was disregarded by the PEPC.
Tinubu is not qualified—APM
In its appeal, the APM upheld its stance that Tinubu was ineligible to run for president and said that the PEPC had dismissed its petition contesting Tinubu’s APC candidacy on a technicality.
The party claims that the PEPC committed a legal error when it incorrectly rejected the claim that Kashim Shettima, Tinubu’s running mate and vice president, was twice nominated by the APC for separate posts in connection with the general elections of 2023.
It criticized the PEPC’s decision, arguing that it was improper for the court to reject the party’s lawsuit challenging Tinubu’s election on the grounds that it was not only inept but also had pre-election problems.
The 1999 Constitution, as modified, contained two interconnected sections, 131 and 142 (1), which APM claimed “cannot be confined as a pre-election matter, as these qualifications are condition precedents to being elected to the office of President.”
It argued that “being qualified to contest the election” meant that an election was legitimate if it met the requirements for qualification and disqualification outlined in the Constitution.
The party is requesting that the supreme court rule that Tinubu’s reinstatement by INEC as the next president is just symbolic and has no legal significance.
The APM is pleading with the Supreme Court to declare all votes cast by the APC in the presidential election invalid and to issue an order compelling INEC to declare the candidate with the second-highest vote total the victor of the race.
In the meanwhile, the APC, INEC, and President Tinubu have requested that the appeals be dismissed by the supreme court because they lack merit.
Additionally, President Tinubu asked the court to deny Atiku’s request for authorization to provide a copy of his certificate, which had been made public by Chicago State University in the United States.