Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi has asked the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja to declare him as the rightful winner of the February 25 presidential election.
Obi is also demanding the disqualification of the All Progressives Congress, APC Candidate Bola Ahmad Tinubu, and his Vice Kashim Shettima for being wrongfully nominated
The LP flag bearer’s petition was filed by a team of lawyers comprising over a dozen Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, Awa Kalu, Onyechi Ikpeazu, Chief Sebastian Hon, and Jibrin Okutepa.
Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, challenged the declaration of Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as the winner of the presidential election.
In his petition at the Presidential ElectionTribunal, he applied for the withdrawal of the Certificate of Return that was issued to Tinubu by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
He maintained that the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election was “invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022”.
He argued that Tinubu’s election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices.
“The 2nd Respondent was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast at the Election.
“The 2nd Respondent was at the time of the Election not qualified to contest the Election”, Atiku’s lawyers, led by Joe Gadzama (SAN), said.
He prayed the court to declare him the winner of the presidential election, having secured the second-highest number of lawful votes cast at the election.
The former Anambra state Governor, Obi, claimed in his petition that he and not the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu scored the majority of lawful votes cast at the presidential poll.
The petition marked: CA/PEPC/03/2023 and filed by Dr. Uzoukwu, SAN, is predicated on three grounds amongst which are that; Tinubu as at the time of the election was not qualified to contest the election; the election of Tinubu was invalid because of corrupt practices or non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 and that Tinubu was not duly elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast at the presidential election.
While Obi and the Labour Party are the petitioners in the suit dated March 20, 2023, INEC, Tinubu, his Vice-president-elect, Kasheem Shetima and the APC are 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respondents respectively.
In the first round of the petition, Obi and LP are arguing that the nomination of Shetima as vice president was done in violation of the law and as such should be disqualified.
“The Petitioners aver that on July 14, 2022, the 3rd Respondent, contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, whilst still being a Senatorial candidate for Borno Central Constituency, knowingly allowed himself to be nominated as the Vice Presidential Candidate to the 2nd Respondent on the platform of the 4th Respondent and became the new Candidate for the office of the Vice President on that date (14 July 2022).
“The Petitioners shall rely on Form EC11A signed by the 3rf Respondent and the officials of the 4th Respondent on that same July 14, 2022.
According to the petitioners, at the time Shetima purportedly became a Vice Presidential candidate, he was still the nominated Senatorial candidate of the APC for the Senatorial election for the Borno Central Senatorial Constituency.
“It is also the Petitioners’ case that a candidate, in this case, the 3rd Respondent, shall not knowingly allow himself to be nominated in more than one constituency.
“The Petitioners shall contend at the trial that the purported sponsorship of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents by the 4th Respondent was rendered invalid by reason of the 3rd Respondent knowingly allowing himself to be nominated as the Vice Presidential Candidate whilst he was still a Senatorial Candidate for the Borno Central Constituency.
“The Petitioners shall further contend that for this reason, the votes purportedly recorded for the 2nd Respondent at the contested Presidential election were/are wasted votes and ought to be disregarded”.
In addition, Obi and LP are insisting that Tinubu also “at the time of the election not qualified to contest for election to the office of President as he was fined the sum of $460,000.00 (Four-Hundred und Sixty Thousand United States Dollars) for an offense involving dishonesty, namely narcotics trafficking imposed by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Case No: 93C 4483.
Among documents they intend to tender in proving their claim include; a) Verified Complaint for Forfeiture, submitted by Michael J. Shepard (United States Attorney) and signed by Marsha A. McClellan (Assistant United States Attorney);
b) Stipulations and Compromise Settlement of Claims to the Funds held by Heritage Bank and CitiBank; and
c) Decree of Forfeiture as to Funds held by First Heritage Bank, signed by United States District Judge, John A. Nordberg.
“In the alternative to 2 above an order canceling the election and compelling INEC to conduct a fresh election in which Tinubu, Shettima, and APC shall not participate.
“In the alternative to 1,2,3 above, I) that it may be determined that Tinubu was not duly elected by a majority of the lawful votes cast in the election for the office of the president and therefore the declaration and return of the 2nd Respondent as the winner of the Presidential Election’ are unlawful, unconstitutional and of no effect whatsoever.