By Ikechukwu Nnochiri, ABUJA
Candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr Peter Obi, on Monday, continued his case before the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja, as he tendered more results of the presidential election from eight states.
The results, which were admitted in evidence by Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel, were from ; Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Delta, Kaduna, Imo, Ondo, Sokoto and Kogi.
While Obi and the LP, who is challenging the outcome of the presidential election that was held on February 25, tendered results from 13 LGAs in Ebonyi, which were marked as Exhibits PP 1 – PP 13, results from the same number of LGA in Nasarawa was admitted in evidence as Exhibits PQ 1 – PQ 13.
Likewise, the Justice Tsammani-led panel admitted in evidence as Exhibits PS 1 to PR 25, results from 25 LGAs in Delta state, just as results of the election from 23 LGAs in Kaduna state were marked as Exhibits PS 1 to PS 23.
Whereas results from 26 LGAs in Imo were tendered and admitted as Exhibits PT1 – PT 26, that of 18 LGAs from Ondo were accepted in evidence by the panel as Exhibits PU 1 – PU 18, while results from 7 LGAs in Sokoto were marked as Exhibits PV 1- PV 7.
The last set of results the petitioners tendered were from 21 LGAs in Kogi state and they were marked as Exhibits PW1 – PW 21.
The LP candidate, who came third in the presidential election that was won by the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, President Bola Tinubu, said he would adduce more exhibits before the court on Tuesday to support his allegation that the election was rigged against him.
Earlier in the proceedings, Obi’s lawyer, Mr Patrick Ikweto, SAN, told the court that his client has a fresh application for which he sought permission to be allowed to move on the next adjourned date.
Ikweto, SAN, equally apologized for serving the schedule of documents his client intends to tender before the court, late on the respondents.
“My lords I apologise for this obvious tardiness and I am giving an undertaking that going forward, we will keep to our words,” the petitioner’s counsel added.
Counsel for the APC, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, had complained that he was not served with the said fresh schedule, which was in respect of the results of the election from some states, on time.
“My lords, this is not the first or second time that we will get to court and be given a fresh schedule by the petitioners in respect of some states.
“I want to submit with respect that the time has come for your lordships to apply the pre-hearing report strictly.
“The petitioner has been proceeding as if there is no pre-hearing report,” Fagbemi, SAN, fumed.
The court had in its pre-hearing report, mandated all the parties to file and serve all their documents, at least 24 hours before the hearing date.
Meanwhile, the court adjourned further hearing on the petition till Tuesday.
Specifically, Obi, in the joint petition he filed with the LP, is contending that President Tinubu was not the valid winner of the election.
The petitioners, in the case, marked: CA/PEPC/03/2023, equally maintained that President Tinubu was not qualified to participate in the presidential contest.
According to the petitioners, at the time Tinubu’s running mate, Shettima, became the Vice Presidential candidate, he was still the nominated candidate of the APC for the Borno Central Senatorial election.
The petitioners further challenged Tinubu’s eligibility to contest the presidential election, alleging that he was previously indicted and fined the sum of $460,000.00 by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Case No: 93C 4483, for an offence involving dishonesty and drug trafficking.
On the ground that the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provision of the Electoral Act, 2022, the petitioners argued that INEC acted in breach of its own Regulations and Guidelines.
The Petitioners argued that the electoral body was in the course of the conduct of the presidential poll, mandatorily required to prescribe and deploy technological devices for the accreditation, verification, continuation and authentication of voters and their particulars as contained in its Regulations.
They are, therefore, praying the court to among other things, declare that all the votes recorded for Tinubu and the APC, were wasted votes owing to his non-qualification/disqualification.
“That it is determined that on the basis of the remaining votes (after discountenancing the votes credited to the 2nd Respondent) the 1st Petitioner (Obi) scored a majority of the lawful votes cast at the election and had not less than 25% of the votes cast in at least 2/3 of the States of the Federation, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and satisfied the constitutional requirements to be declared the winner of the 25th February 2023 presidential election.
“That it be determined that the 2nd Respondent having failed to score one-quarter of the votes cast at the presidential election in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja was not entitled to be declared and returned as the winner of the presidential election held on 25th February 2023.
In the alternative, the petitioners, want an order cancelling the election and compelling INEC to conduct a fresh election at which Tinubu, Shettima and the APC, listed as 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents, respectively, shall not participate.
They urged the court to declare that since Tinubu was not duly elected by a majority of the lawful votes cast in the election, therefore, his return as the winner of the presidential election, was unlawful, unconstitutional and of no effect whatsoever.
In a further alternative prayer, the petitioners want the court to hold that the presidential election was void on the ground that it was not conducted substantially in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, and the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Likewise, they applied for an order, “cancelling the presidential election conducted on 25th February 2023 and mandating the 1st Respondent to conduct a fresh election for the President, the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.