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PEPC denies witnesses, upholds Tinubu victory

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By Okunloye Abiodun Segun

No evidence to be considered credible to support their claims was provided.

The much-anticipated ruling by the five judges of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) led by Justice Haruna Tsammani on Wednesday in Abuja dismissed the request by the opposition parties in the country to overturn Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s victory in the presidential election that took place in February. The court ruled that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), and Allied Peoples Movement (APM) did not provide sufficient evidence to support their claims that Tinubu was involved in a drug trade in the United States and electoral malpractices in almost half of Nigerian 36 states.

Other members of the panel, including Stephen Adah, Mistura Bolaji-Yusuf, Moses Ugo, and Abbah Mohammed, each took it, in turn, to agree with the reasoning and result reached by the lead judge. The petitions the court heard and acted upon were submitted within three weeks of March 1, when Mr. Tinubu was officially declared the winner of the presidential election held on February 25. Some of Atiku and Mr. Obi’s legal arguments were deemed to be “fallacious and ridiculous” by the panel, which came to the unanimous conclusion that the petitioners had not shown a single piece of evidence that could be considered credible to support their claims.

10 of Mr. Obi’s 13 witnesses and 15 of Atiku’s 27 witnesses were rejected.

As a result of non-compliance, the PEPC dismissed 10 of Mr. Obi’s 13 witnesses and 15 of Atiku’s 27. Some concern about their objectivity was raised. The evidence record no longer includes the blurred polling unit results. The PEPC ruled that the $460,000 Bola Ahmed Tinubu forfeiture was a civil case rather than a criminal one. In this case, there was no criminal conviction. Thus, it was highlighted that this was a civil forfeiture. The court also noted that the Labour Party did not present any proof that Tinubu had been arraigned, tried, fined, or sentenced for a criminal offence.

In addition, the court decided that INEC cannot be enforced to electronically transfer election results to its results viewing platform, popularly known as IREV. This decision was taken in response to arguments made by Peter Obi and the Labour Party over severe non-compliance with sections of the electoral act. The court stated that Obi and the Labour Party’s claims of numerous irregularities, voter suppression, and corrupt practices were unconvincing and lacked sufficient proof to back their claims. The court also stated that the claims were merely allegations and were not sufficient to throw out the entire outcome of the election.

Academics and VP Nomination concerns were also not enough.

Court also decided that President Tinubu had the necessary academic background to run for president, concluding that a solely educational disqualification was insufficient. Additionally, the court stated that residents of Abuja are not exceptional and that having 25 percent of the vote in the FCT is not sufficient grounds for being pronounced the winner and president. Also, the court found that Obi did not show adequate proof that he had won the election. As for the duplicate nomination case involving Shettima, the court said the case was incompetent.

Similarly, the PDP and APM requested the court to overturn Tinubu’s declaration as the presidential election winner on February 25 on the grounds that he had appointed a VP candidate who was also running for a seat in the country national legislature, which is unlawful. A few months before the elections, Tinubu’s nominated vice presidential candidate withdrew from the senate contest, but the court ruled that he did not break the law because of this. If a candidate’s initial running mate drops out, the candidate is free to nominate a new one. No primaries are required to choose a running mate. Therefore, the court found the APM’s petition to be without merit.

Unsatisfied parties can take the case further to the Supreme Court.

During a recent interview with Channels TV, Femi Falana, SAN, stated that any party that is dissatisfied with the results on Wednesday still possesses the opportunity to take the matter to the Supreme Court. He urged Nigerians to respect the judicial process and recognise that the outcome may not be what they had expected. Barrister Rose Okojie, a constitutional lawyer in Lagos State, told BusinessDay that the parties who feel wronged by a judgement can file an appeal with the Supreme Court within 14 days. Any appeal that is submitted later than 14 days after the deadline is considered invalid.


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AN-Toni
AN-Toni
Editor
24 days ago

PEPC denies witnesses, upholds Tinubu victory.No evidence to be considered credible to support their claims was provided.Express your point of view.

Adeolastan
Adeolastan
Member
24 days ago

I understand your concern regarding the PEPC’s decision to deny the witnesses and uphold Tinubu’s victory. It is indeed disheartening when claims are made without credible evidence to support them. In any legal process, it is crucial to have solid and reliable evidence to substantiate claims and ensure a fair and just outcome. Without such evidence, it becomes challenging for the court to consider the claims as credible and make a different ruling. While it may be frustrating for those who were hoping for a different result, it is important to respect the decision of the PEPC and have faith in the integrity of the judicial system. It is through such processes that we can maintain the principles of fairness, transparency, and accountability in our democratic society. Moving forward, it is essential to continue working towards improving our electoral system and ensuring that all claims are supported by credible evidence to uphold the integrity of our democracy.

SarahDiv
SarahDiv
Member
24 days ago

It is very important that we maintain the principles of fairness, transparency, and accountability in our country and also essential to work continuously in improving our electoral system and ensuring that all claims are backed by credible evidence to uphold the integrity of our democracy in our country.

Kazeem1
Kazeem1
Member
23 days ago

PEPC denies witnesses, upholds Tinubu victory. – No evidence to be considered credible to support their claims was provided Bola Ahmed Tinubu was declared the winner of the presidential election by the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), which did so on the grounds that the opposing parties’ allegations lacked support from reliable sources. The court considered the petitions to be unpersuasive and rejected several witnesses.

Taiwoo
Taiwoo
Member
23 days ago

that Tinubu’s victory was maintained by PEPC notwithstanding their decision to ignore the witnesses. When assertions are made without sufficient evidence, It is crucial to have solid and reliable evidence in any judicial action in order to support allegations and ensure a fair and reasonable decision.