By Uche Amunike
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi and the Labour Party have challenged the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal over the victory of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the just concluded general election held on February, 25, 2023.
Obi, who came third in the election, challenged the outcome of the election, Tuesday, in Abuja, where he filed a petition at the Presidential Election Petition Court, alleging that the election was fraught with many irregularities like the non-qualification of Bola Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, to take part in the election.
He challenged the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal over Tinubu’s win, as according to him, Tinubu neither won the majority of the lawful votes that were cast at the polls, nor secured one-quarter of the lawful votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
He further stated that the election was not substantially conducted in compliance within the ambit of the law and therefore, urged the court to either announce him as the winner of the February 25 presidential election by declaring him the President-Elect, having scored majority of the lawful votes at the polls, or declare the election null and order a fresh one.
Out of the five prayers contained in the petition, two were categorized as main prayers, while three were placed as alternative prayers. These five prayers include Eligibility, as the petitioners submitted that Tinubu lacked the qualification to contest the election. The lead counsel also argued that the President-Elect was not duly elected by majority of the lawful votes cast during the election.
There is also the issue of 25% in the FCT. Peter Obi and the Labour Party stated that Tinubu was announced as winner, even though he did not secure the required 25% in the FCT. They therefore demanded that the presidential election tribunal should determine ‘that the 2nd Respondent (Tinubu) 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 25 February 2023.’
The petitioners, Obi and the Labour Party also prayed the court to announce the cancellation of the presidential polls held on February 25, 2023.
In addition to that, they asked that the court should instruct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to hold a fresh election, while ensuring that the duo of Tinubu and and Shettima are not part of the fresh election.
In Nigeria, election trials take months before they are resolved, even though constitutionally, they should be concluded before the swearing in of the victorious candidate.
The February 25th presidential election in Nigeria remains what seems to be the toughest presidential race since the era of military rule came to an end in 1999. National and international observers have confirmed that it was an election that lacked credibility and transparency. They also pointed out that it had visible operational failures.