Two key contenders who lost in the recent Nigerian presidential elections have appealed at the higher court, prolonging a contest that began in February.
Having lost at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) earlier this month, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) want the Supreme Court of Nigeria to nullify the judgment.
The tribunal sitting at the Appeal Court in Abuja had on September 6, upheld the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the February 25 presidential election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) had declared that APC recorded 8,794,726 votes, PDP 6,984,520; and LP 6,101,533 votes.
The electoral body also declared that President Tinubu met the mandatory constitutional requirement of scoring 25 percent of votes in more than 25 states.
Unsatisfied with the Inec’s declaration, Abubakar and Obi filed their petitions at the PEPT seeking the nullification of the presidential election and the disqualification of President Tinubu, a two-time governor of Lagos state, whom they claimed was not qualified to contest election.
The Tribunal was unanimous, and the five judges agreed with the Commission.
Abubakar on Tuesday filed Notice of Appeal citing 35 grounds. Obi similarly filed an appeal listing 55 grounds to reverse the judgement of the tribunal.
Abubakar’s lead counsel, Chris Uche, says the verdict did not represent the true picture of the grounds of his petition.
Abubakar wants the election nullified on the grounds of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022.
He alleged that PEPC erred in law by not taking into cognisance the Doctrine of Legitimate Expectation when Inec failed to conduct the election in accordance with its own guidelines and the Electoral Act 2022.
Abubakar prayed the Supreme Court to declare him the authentic winner of the Feb. 25 presidential election based on lawful votes cast by Nigerians during the poll.
He said that the apex court should order a rerun election to be conducted for him and Tinubu being the 1st and 2nd runners-up in the last presidential election.
Obi’s lead counsel, Dr Livy Uzoukwu, said the Tribunal was wrong when it held that he did not specify polling units where irregularities occurred during the election.
He faulted the judge for dismissing his case on the premise that he did not specify the figures of votes or scores that were allegedly suppressed of inflated in favour of President Tinubu and the ruling APC.
He had claimed the Inec uploaded 18, 088 blurred results on its IReV portal, tallying platform.
“The learned justices of the court erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice when they held and concluded that he failed to establish the allegation of corrupt practices and over-voting,” Obi added.
The respondents, President Tinubu, Inec and APC have yet to file their defence.