By Uche Amunike
A faction of the Action Alliance (AA) Party has moved that Bola Tinubu’s victory at the February 25th presidential election be nullified by the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja.
Recall that according to results presented by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Bola Tinubu gathered 8.8 million votes after defeating the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi of the Labour Party, as well as 15 other candidates of different politics parties during the election.
The Action Alliance Party has however moved that the court should nullify the election since INEC refused to upload the name of its actual presidential flag bearer, Solomon-David Okanigbuan to its portal for the general election.
The Peoples Democratic Party, Labour Party and the All Peoples Movement parties have also petitioned the electoral umpire, querying the outcome of the presidential poll, at the Abuja Petition Court.
On March 16, the AA and Mr Okanigbuan, co-filed a petition, stating that even though subsisting court orders recognized Mr Okanigbuan as the authentic presidential candidate of their party, INEC went ahead to upload the name of former Chief Security Officer to late Nigerian President , Hamza Al-Mustapha’s name instead. Mr Al-Mustapha ended up polling 14,542 votes at the election.
The AA National Chairman, Adekunle Omo Aje, stated in January that Mr Al-Mustapha was not the authentic presidential flag bearer of the AA Party. He explained that it was the leadership tussle that rocked his party that brought about the emergence of two presidential candidates.
Recall that the Omo-Aje leadership organized a national congress last year, which was monitored by INEC. That Congress produced Mr Okanigbuan as the party’s presidential candidate.
Mr Al-Mustapha however won the presidential primary election that was conducted, June 9, 2022, by the Kenneth Udeze-led faction in Abuja.
All the candidates presented to the electoral commission by the Udeze-led faction were recognized by them, even though court judgments declared that he was no longer a member of the Party. The courts also ordered the electoral empire to accept and publish the names of candidates which they received from the Omo-Aje leadership of the party.
Mr Udeze is however, still listed on the INEC website as the National Chairman of AA, notwithstanding the orders given by the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal.
Mr Omo-Aje has faulted the INEC Chairman for refusing to recognize Mr Okanigbuan. His words: ‘We fulfilled all INEC electoral guidelines and requirements according to the Nigerian Constitution with the commission, yet he (Mr Yakubu) is hell bent on excluding Action Alliance from the coming 2023 General Elections.’
The AA has therefore queried INEC’s act of excluding their rightful candidate from the election unlawfully which in their opinion, renders the entire exercise ‘invalid for non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.’
Lawyer to the petitioners, Dauda Usman, had submitted that the court should set aside the election that declared Bola Tinubu winner of the presidential poll and order INEC to conduct a fresh election.