Muhammed Abubakar, Reporting
THE Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, held that the petition filed by Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP) against the election of Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the February 25 presidential election lacked merit.
The presiding Justice of the five-member panel of Justices of the court, Justice Haruna Tsammani, while delivering judgement in the petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023, said the petitioners failed to prove their allegations in their petition as required by law.
The court also held that the petitioners’ submission that a candidate must score 25 per cent of votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to be validly declared as the winner of a presidential election was, “Completely falacious.”
Justice Tsammani, who read the judgement, said the preamble to the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria stipulated equality for all the country’s citizens.
The court said the FCT was not more than any state of the Federation as it has the same status as every other state.
On the issue of noncompliance with the Electoral Act in the conduct of the presidential election, the court held that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was at liberty to decide on the manner in which election results could be transmitted.
The presiding justice further held that the electoral body cannot be compelled to transmit election results electronically, as held in a judgement by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, which has not been appealed against.
“INEC is a creation of the constitution and has the right to issue guidelines for the conduct of an election. The Electoral Act 2022 did not categorically state that election results must be transmitted electronically”, Justice Tsammani held.
The court also held that, out of the 13 witnesses called by the petitioners, only three had their statement on oath filed along with the joint petition of the LP and its presidential candidate as required by the Electoral Act.
He said the petitioners did not plead any evidence to substantiate the allegation of non-compliance to Electoral law during the February 25 presidential election and added, “They failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt, the allegation of corrupt practices alleged in their petition”.
Judgement in the petition filed by former Vice President Abubakar Atiku and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is ongoing as at the time of filing this report.