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BREAKING: Finally, Tension As Atiku, Obi, Tinubu Know Fate Tomorrow

The 2023 Presidential Election Pe­tition Court (PEPC) will tomorrow, September 6, deliver the much an­ticipated judgment in the three dif­ferent petitions challenging the dec­laration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as winner of the February 25 presidential election.

The five-man panel of PEPC led by Justice Haruna Tsam­mani is expected to make pronouncements on the pe­titions filed by the presiden­tial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar; that of Pe­ter Obi of the Labour Party, as well as the petition of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), all seeking nullifica­tion of Tinubu’s victory.

The PEPC had on July 14, reserved judgment on the pe­tition by APM marked CA/ PEPC/03/2023, just as on Au­gust 1, it reserved judgment on the separate petitions by Atiku and Obi.

Earlier, the petitions by the Action Alliance (AA) marked CA/PEPC/01/2023, and that of the Action Peo­ples Party (APP) marked CA/PEPC/02/2023, were dis­missed by the PEPC follow­ing their withdrawal by the respective petitioners.

Specifically, the three re­maining petitioners are seek­ing the nullification of Tinu­bu’s victory on the grounds that the election was rigged in favour of the APC presi­dential candidate.

The APM is seeking the disqualification of Tinu­bu on the ground that his vice presidential candidate, Kashim Shettima, “unlaw­fully” allowed himself to be nominated twice for two dif­ferent positions.

Recall that Shettima, ab initio, was nominated by the APC as candidate for Borno Central Senatorial district and was later nom­inated by the same party as vice presidential candidate following the withdrawal of one Kabiru Masari, a place holder, who was the initial vice presidential candidate to Tinubu.

On their part, Atiku and Obi in their separate petitions marked CA/PEPC/05/2023, and CA/PEPC/04/2023, re­spectively, are seeking the disqualification and nullifi­cation of Tinubu’s victory at the poll.

Atiku had asked the PEPC while adopting his fi­nal address through his lead counsel, Chris Uche (SAN), to do substantial justice to his petition rather than rely­ing on technicalities to give judgment that may pervert the course of justice.

Atiku had insisted that Tinubu be disqualified on the strength of the Ameri­can court judgment where he (Tinubu) was made to forfeit $460,000 on alleged narcotics and money laundering relat­ed offences.

Atiku and Obi, while adopting their respective fi­nal addresses, also insisted that the February 25 pres­idential election in which INEC declared Tinubu as winner was highly flawed with widespread rigging and electoral malpractices, non-deployment of BVAS device in the transmission of presidential election results, and substantial noncompli­ance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, as amended etc.

On their part, Tinubu, APC and the INEC, all re­spondents in the petitions, prayed the PEPC to dismiss the petitions for want of merit and on jurisdictional grounds, having failed to prove substantial rigging.

Meanwhile, the Chief Reg­istrar of the Court of Appeal, Umar Bangari, on Monday confirmed that judgment in the three petitions before the Presidential Election Pe­tition Court will be televised live tomorrow.

But the PEPC had on May 22, 2023, unanimously dismissed a motion on no­tice filed by the PDP and its presidential candidate, Ati­ku Abubakar, seeking the live telecast of sittings of the PEPC.

Chairman of the PEPC, Justice Haruna Tsammani, in his lead ruling held that the court as constituted, only has power to hear and determine election petition and not to serve as an avenue to test run the live broadcast of sittings.

Justice Tsammani noted that though a novel issue in the country’s jurisprudence, however, said, “I have seen the practice direction issued by the President of Court of Appeal, or any regulatory framework, and cannot find out where provision for live broadcast was stated.

“It is an issue that borders on policy and administrative in nature.

“This court lacks the pow­er to make such policy and cannot make an order that will lead to over dramatisa­tion of PEPC proceedings.”

However, Bangari said the live telecast of the judgment is to ensure transparency.

“In a bid to promote trans­parency and openness, these judgments will be televised live by interested television stations for the public to fol­low”, the Court of Appeal chief registrar stated.

He added that the appeal court premises, venue of the PEPC sitting, will be strictly upon accreditation.

“Access to the court prem­ises will be strictly on accred­itation. Only accredited in­dividuals, including counsel and representatives of polit­ical parties, will be granted access into the courtroom.

“Interested members of the public are advised to watch proceedings from their television sets.

“We appeal for the max­imum cooperation of the general public to ensure a hitch free exercise”, Bangari stated.