THE Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, have asked the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to declare that declare as null and void the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as winner of the Saturday, February 25, 2023 presidential election.
Obi and his party, in their suit, alleged that in addition to the several irregularities that marked the February 25 presidential election, both Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, are not qualified to contest the election.
The petitioners, who filed their suit on Tuesday, thereby beating the statutory 21-day deadline counting from the day the winner of the election was declared by INEC (March 1, 2023), also prayed the tribunal to declare that Tinubu, apart from failure to score the majority of the lawful votes cast in the election, also failed to satisfy the constitutional requirements to be declared the winner of the presidential election after the deduction of alleged illegal votes.
The petitioners also urged the tribunal to annul Tinubu’s alleged victory due to his failure to win one-quarter of the lawful votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and declare the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Obi, as the lawful winners of the presidential poll.
In an alternative prayer, the petitioners urged the court to annul the election, void the certificate of return wrongly issued to Tinubu, and order INEC to conduct a fresh one.
Obi equally prayed the tribunal to nullify the election on the ground that it was conducted without compliance with the electoral law, and order a fresh poll.
The defendants in the suit include the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Tinubu and his running mate, Shettima as well as their party, APC.
Obi’s legal team is led by Livy Uzoukwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
The petitioners, in justifying the grounds for the suit, alleged that Tinubu, “at the time of the election, was not qualified to contest…”, arguing that he (Tinubu) “was fined $460,000 for an offence involving dishonesty, namely narcotics trafficking imposed by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in case no:93C 4483″ between the United States of America and Bola Tinubu.
Obi alleged that Tinubu’s running mate, Shettima, as at the time he was picked, had been nominated to run for election into two separate positions – as Borno Central senatorial candidate and vice-presidential candidate for the whole of Nigeria in the same election cycle.
The petitioner alleged that this is contrary to the provisions of the law which provides that a presidential candidate shall nominate another person as his associate who is to occupy the office of vice president.
The petitioner specifically noted that Tinubu nominated Shettima as his vice-presidential candidate on July 14, 2022 while the latter was still representing Borno Central Senatorial District at the National Assembly. He further alleged that the APC nominated Shettima as its candidate for Borno Central Senatorial District by 15 July 2022, while already chosen by Tinubu as his running mate.
According to Obi, Shettima should not have allowed himself to be nominated in “more than one constituency” as it was a violation of the provision of the Electoral Act to do so.
According to the petitioner, he will prove before the tribunal that APC’s “purported sponsorship” of Tinubu and Shettima while the latter was still representing Borno Central Senatorial district, rendered their candidacy “invalid” as “…the votes purportedly recorded for” Tinubu “at the presidential election were/are wasted votes and ought to be disregarded”.