March 24, 2023

We’re unable to serve processes on Tinubu – Atiku, Obi lament

PDP, APC, LP reel out security plans ahead of polls

…as court hears ex-parte application for substituted service today

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA– Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar and his counterpart in the Labour Party, Peter Obi, have accused the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, of deliberately avoiding petitions they filed to nullify his election.

Consequently, the duo have re-approached the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja with ex-parte applications, seeking to be allowed to serve the petitions on Tinubu, through substituted means.

It will be recalled that Tinubu, who was on March 1, declared as the winner of the presidential election, is currently out of the country.

In their applications before the court, Atiku and Obi decried that all effort to effect personal service of their petitions on him, proved abortive.

Meanwhile, owing to an affidavit of urgency that accompanied the motion ex-parte, the court said it would hear Atiku and Obi’s applications by 11am today.

It will be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had declared Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as winner of the presidential poll, ahead of 17 other candidates that contested the election.

According to INEC, Tinubu, scored a total of 8,794,726 votes to defeat Atiku who polled a total of 6,984,520 votes and Obi of the LP who came third with a total of 6,101,533 votes.

However, both Atiku and Obi rejected the outcome of the election which they insisted was rigged in Tinubu’s favour.

Aside from accusing INEC of acting in breach of its own electoral Regulations and Guidelines, the petitioners equally argued that Tinubu was not legally qualified to participate in the presidential contest.

More so, they argued that he did not garner the highest number of lawful votes cast at the election, adding that votes credited to the APC candidate amounted to wasted voted by reason of corrupt practices that marred the election.

Atiku further alleged that the electoral body deployed a third-party device he said was used to intercept and divert votes to the APC and its candidate.

While both Obi and Atiku separately claimed that they won the election, they asked the court to either declare them winners or in the alternative, order a fresh election.

Both petitioners urged the court to compel INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return it earlier issued to Tinubu of the APC.