Here are some interesting points addressed and resolved today, September 6, at the Presidential Election Petition Court sitting in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT)
Court Strikes Out APM’s Suit Against Shettima, Tinubu.
The Presidential Election Petitions Court went on a 15-minute break.
The Court reconvened to take the Judgement of the Labour Party. The judgement is read by Justice Abba Mohammed. He read the preambles reliefs and prayers sought.
A member of the panel of justices, Abba Mohammed, read the ruling on the preliminary objections filed by the respondents against Peter Obi’s petition.
LP’s Widespread Irregularities Claim Generic – Court:
While highlighting a claim by the respondents that Obi’s petition only alleged that there were widespread irregularities without giving the particulars and the polling units.
Justice Abba Mohammed holds that In a presidential election held in 176,866 polling units in 774 Local Government Areas, it would be improper not to specify where there were irregularities.
According to him, the petitioners only made generic allegations.
“Pleading must set out material facts and particulars. In the instant petition, there was no effort to prove specific allegations, particulars of complaints,” said the Tribunal.
The law is clear that where someone alleges irregularities in a particular polling unit, such person must prove the particular irregularities in that polling unit before that petition can succeed, the Tribunal added.
The court said the petitioners did not prove the particular polling unit where the election did not take place nor did they specify particulars of polling units where there are alleged complainants of irregularities.
“It was only in one instance that figures were given of alleged suppressed votes and we all know that elections are about figures,” it said.
“LP alleged that INEC reduced their scores and added it to APC votes but failed to supply particulars of what they actually scored before the said reductions, neither did they supply the polling units where it happened….”
Tribunal Declares APC’s Petition On Obi’s Membership Incompetent
The Court also declared APC’s petition challenging Obi’s membership of the LP as incompetent. Justice Abba said that membership in a political party is an internal affair.
The Tribunal also touched on the issue of non-joinder of Atiku Abubakar who came second and wondered how Obi & LP’s petition could be effectively determined without joining the candidate who placed second in the polls.
The court rejected the reports of forensic analyses tendered by LP’s three witnesses. According to the court, they are either made during the pendency of the case or by an interested party.
This was as it rejected the European Union report on the polls, arguing that it was not tendered by an official of the body.
Tribunal dismisses LP/Obi’s Petition on 25 per cent needed in the FCT to win the presidential election.
According to the court, FCT residents have no special privileges as the petitioners claimed.
Obi, LP Failed To Prove Tinubu Was Convicted In US, Tribunal Rules.
The Court ruled that the Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, failed to prove that President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was convicted for money laundering in the United States.
The five-man panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani ruled that no record of criminal arrest or conviction was established against Tinubu by the petitioners – Obi and the LP.
02: 41 pm
INEC At Liberty To Define Mode Of Transmitting Election Results –
On the issue of substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the law, especially with regard to non-transmission of result sheets to INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), the court held that there is no law that says INEC must transfer or transmit the results of the election from the polling units electronically.
The law simply empowers INEC to decide the means of collation of results of elections, the court argued.
The court added that the only device that must be used by INEC for elections is the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and noted that there’s no regulation showing BVAS must be used to electronically transmit results from polling units.
According to the PEPC, INEC regulations and the Electoral Act give room for manual collation of results. It said electronic transmission is optional at best.
Summary of the judgement so far:
1. Interested parties testimonies are not admissible.
2. Tinunbu’s qualification not in doubt.
3. His right of ingress and egress into the United States of America is suggestive of the fact that no criminal record is against him.
4. Shetima’s nomination settled as party’s internal matter.
5. LP couldn’t prove malpractices as alleged
6. LP didn’t show with how much vote it won the election.
7. Inability of INEC to transmit election in real time, does not depart from substantial compliance
8. Obi’s nomination by LP is an internal party issue
9. Abuja does not enjoy special status to other states so no 2/3 votes required for a candidate to win compulsorily in Abuja
10. Shettima alleged double nomination lack merit. Nomination is an internal party affairs.