In a crucial development, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the All Progressives Congress (APC), and President Bola Tinubu are set to present oral and documentary evidence before the Presidential Election Petition Court, aiming to justify the affirmation of Tinubu’s victory in the February 25, 2023, presidential poll,
A five-member panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani had previously adjourned the hearing until July 3, following three separate petitions seeking the nullification of Tinubu’s election as President. With the petitioners having concluded presenting their cases, the respondents are now expected to mount their defenses.
The declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election on March 1, 2023, has faced opposition from some contestants. Five out of the 18 political parties that fielded candidates for the election expressed dissatisfaction and filed their grievances within the stipulated 21-day period at the Presidential Election Petition Court.
The Action Alliance (AA) and the Action People’s Party (APP) withdrew their petitions, leaving the Labour Party (LP), the Allied People’s Movement (APM), and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the remaining petitioners. They aim to substantiate their allegations against INEC, Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and the APC in the ongoing petitions at the PREPEC in the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
The petitioners primarily base their grievances on alleged irregularities, non-compliance with electoral laws, corrupt practices, and claims of Tinubu’s disqualification due to double nomination, criminal forfeiture, perjury, and dual citizenship.
To support their claims, the petitioners presented a total of 40 witnesses, including party agents, INEC ad hoc staff, and experts, along with various exhibits. They highlighted technical glitches during the uploading of presidential results to the INEC Results Viewing (IReV) Portals, accusing INEC of manipulating the process in favor of the APC and Tinubu.
As the hearing resumes, INEC faces the challenge of disproving the petitioners’ allegations and defending its actions during the election. Tinubu and the APC, who announced their intention to call 39 and 25 witnesses respectively, will focus on addressing issues raised about Tinubu’s qualification and alleged discrepancies in his academic records. The presentation of stronger arguments and evidence by the respondents will be crucial to convince the panel and the public that the petitioners’ claims are unfounded and do not warrant the nullification of Tinubu’s victory.
The next few days will unveil whether the respondents possess any compelling evidence to counter the testimonies and documents presented by the petitioners, determining the course of the ongoing legal battle.