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Nigerians eagerly await tribunal verdict

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By Abraham Adekunle

PDP Atiku and LP Obi are challenging the election outcome.

Immediately after the result of the 2023 presidential election was announced, the candidates of the two other leading political parties went to the court to challenge the outcome. These are the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar; and that of the Labour Party, Peter Gregory Obi. Obi was quoted in a number of interviews telling the media that he was challenging the declaration of Bola Tinubu as president based on the process.

He said that the process must not only be transparent but also seen as reliably so. According to him, if the courts end up declaring Tinubu as the president, no questions will be asked. The aim of the case is to prove that his presidency can withstand the test from the law. On the other hand, Atiku Abubakar’s major argument in his case was that Tinubu was not eligible to contest the presidency and so the court should declare him (Atiku) as president by virtue of having come second in the election.

Controversial judgment will be pronounced very soon.

In the week ahead, the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) will deliver its verdict on the controversial 2023 presidential election. Whether Tinubu is affirmed as the rightful winner of the election or the election is overturned, this election remains the most followed in the history of Nigeria’s presidential election petitions history. Young people who have never before cared about elections or its outcome trooped out on the day of election. Also, when the tribunal trial started, many of them stayed glued to social media handles of news outlets for updates.

For many older people, the renewed vigor in which the Gen Z generation approached the 2023 elections showed that the agitations of the 2020 #EndSARS protests spilled over into an organic movement. This movement heralded the springing up of what many have called “the third force” in Nigerian politics. This was majorly for Peter Obi whom many youngsters have queued behind even as his case is being tried in court. Now all the parties in the case have played their roles, and the rest is now in the hands of the court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani.

Anxiety as Nigerians await presidential election petition verdict.

Presently, the country is under tension because of the imminence of the verdict. Nigerians are anxious to know what the court has to say. A US based human rights lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Ogebe, has said that the judgment of the petition court is one that will make history or make misery. Others have also said that the peace of the country is dependent on the outcome of the case. Recently, some social media users have called for protests in response to the economic situation of the country.

However, it has been met with negative replies. One reason for this is that the majority of people are eagerly waiting for the result of the case. Another reason is that Peter Obi himself had asked every one of his supporters not to engage in any form of protests especially on the elections because the case is in court. At the court, the legal representatives of Peter Obi have concentrated on Tinubu’s inability to get up to 25 percent in the Federal Capital Territory, his dual citizenship, his alleged case of certificate forgery, and his forfeiture case in the state of Chicago in the United States.

Final address presented at the beginning of the month.

On August 1, 2023, parties in the petition were summoned by the Justice Haruna Tsammani led five member panel of justices to adopt their final addresses which would give room for the final judgment. This adoption of final addresses is the precursor to fixing a date for judgment. This battle before judgment is delivered is also referred to as closing or final arguments whereby parties bring together all the arguments they had canvassed in one single document. It should be noted that the interest in this case is as a result of the “third force,” which is basically a third political party with the traction that equals that of the ruling and main opposition party.

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