PEPC Verdict: A letdown foretold
Presidential election petition court

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) sitting in Abuja, has dismissed about 17 paragraphs from the petition brought before it by Peter Obi and the Labour Party.

The court struck out the paragraphs for containing what it claimed were “vague and generic allegations”.

A member of the tribunal’s five-member panel, Justice Abba Mohammed, read the lead judgment.

Obi and the Labour Party are complainants in the petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023, challenging the election which brought Tinubu to power on May 29.

The petitioners made allegations of irregularities and said they would rely on spreadsheets, inspection reports and forensic analysis filed with the petition during the trial.

But in his lead judgement, Mohammed held that the petitioners failed to show which polling units the malpractices alleged occurred; the number of votes affected; and their polling unit agents who reported the alleged irregularities, and malpractices, among others.

He also said the petitioners failed to state the number of votes affected and the number of people disenfranchised.

The court said although Obi and LP claimed to have scored the majority of lawful votes cast, they failed to state the number of lawful votes they scored.

“The determination of election is about figures,” the court held.

The court said the petitioners also failed to prove that their votes were suppressed by failing to specify the number of votes suppressed.

Tinubu and Shettima had contended that they had the locus standi to institute their petition against Obi, on the grounds that he only joined the LP few days before the election, instead of the mandatory 30 days.

However, the court held that it is not within the rights of Tinubu and Shettima to challenge Obi’s candidacy.

“The issue of membership of a political party is an internal party affair,” the tribunal said.

The tribunal also dismissed the objection raised by the respondents contending that Obi and LP failed to join Atiku as a respondent in their petition.

The court held that Section 133 of the Electoral Act provides that the loser and winner of an election, as well as the person/body who conducted the election, are to be joined as respondents.

Justice Haruna Tsammani is delivering judgment on the main petition.

The court held that witnesses 3,4,5,6, 7,8,9,10,11 and 13 subpoenaed by LP are not witnesses of the court and that the witness statements were filed out of time.

“Out of a total of 13 witnesses called by Obi/LP, 10 of those witnesses are not countenanced by the court,” he said.

Tsammani said the 10 witness statements of oath are incompetent and cannot be admissible by the court.


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