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Tribunal upholds Tinubu’s victory, dismisses Obi, APM’s petitions

BY Akinwale Yekeen

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The presidential election petition tribunal has upheld the election of President Bola Tinubu in the February 25 poll.

“Having concluded and decided that all three petitions are all devoid of merit, the petitions are hereby dismissed,” the panel said on Wednesday.

After more than nine hours of examining the petitions and defence of the parties, the five-man panel led by Haruna Tsammani, ruled that “Tinubu is returned as duly elected president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

The tribunal said the petitions filed by Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) challenging  Tinubu’s victory were “all devoid of merit”.

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Part of the charges filed against Tinubu included his failure to secure 25 percent of votes cast in the federal capital territory (FCT), and his forfeiture of $460,000 in the US.

They also challenged the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to transmit election results electronically.

The panel ruled that INEC is at liberty to determine its mode of transmitting election results.

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Tsammani cited the judgment of a federal high court in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/1454/2022 delivered on January 23, 2023.

He said the judgment subsists since the LP has failed to appeal against it.

He also ruled that Obi could not establish that INEC deliberately failed to upload results to the IReV in order to manipulate the election results in favour of Tinubu during the election.

Tsammani added that the petitioners did not prove how they were affected by the failure of INEC to electronically transmit the results.

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“The petitioners have failed to prove substantial non-compliance with the provision of the Electoral Act,” he said.

FCT not superior to any state

In its ruling earlier, the tribunal said the FCT is not treated specially in the election as it is not superior to any state.

The tribunal said the interpretation of the 25 percent votes cast in the FCT by the LP is “fallacious”.

“With due respect to counsel to the petitioners, their interpretation of the provision of the constitution, as regards the 25 percent in Abuja, is fallacious if not completely ludicrous,” the court said.

The court held that there is equality of rights irrespective of which part of the country voters prefer to live in.

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$460k forfeiture: Obi, LP failed to prove Tinubu was convicted

The tribunal also ruled that the LP failed to prove that Tinubu should have been disqualified from contesting the election on account of a forfeiture agreement.

In 1993, Tinubu surrendered $460,000 to the US government after a Chicago court found that the money was the proceeds of heroin trafficking.

While reading the lead judgment, Tsammani said the evidence (Exhibit P5) tendered by the petitioners showed that it was a civil forfeiture case.

Tsammani held that the petitioners failed to adduce credible evidence to show that Tinubu was arraigned or took a plea or was sentenced or fined in any criminal suit in the US.

Reacting to the ruling, Tinubu said the judgment has renewed his goal of unifying Nigeria.

“President Tinubu welcomes the judgment of the court with an intense sense of solemn responsibility and preparedness to serve all Nigerians, irrespective of all diverse political persuasions, faiths, and tribal identities,” a statement by Ajuri Ngelale, spokesperson to Tinubu, reads.

 

 

 

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