In the event that the February 25th election was thrown out, President Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have petitioned the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) to bar the Labour Party’s Peter Obi from running again.
The legal team for Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, asserted that Peter Obi is not a labor party member and does not have the legal standing to contest the election results.
Naija News Gossip reports that in their joint petition, Obi and LP alleged that the presidential poll was rigged against him in about 18,088 polling units (totaling over 2.5 million votes) aside from alleged over-voting that took place in parts of the South West. He also alleged that INEC’s failure to upload results to the IREV portal in real time negatively impacted the polls.
But l Olanipekun argued that the Court of Appeal, Lagos division, had ruled against the Labour Party that INEC had the discretion on the mode of collation of the election results.
He added that Peter Obi has no legal right to challenge the election or be included in a rerun because he is not the second runner-up, stressing that Obi was not a member of the Labour Party when he ran for the election and therefore has no legal right to institute the case or be allowed to contest rerun.
On the US Court judgment that ordered Tinubu to forfeit funds suspected to be proceeds of narcotics deals found in his account, Olanipekun noted that the 1999 Constitution states that a conviction has expired after 10 ten years.
On its part, APC lead counsel and ministerial nominee, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), equally adopted all the oral arguments of Olanipekun, saying Obi’s petition, though ambitious, did not dispute that accreditation, voting, and collation of results did not take place.
He said: “If anybody wants to attack any election results, there has to be polling unit by polling unit proof, but this is abysmally lacking in this petition.”
He said the much-touted issue of rerun, as requested (in the alternative) by Obi, should be between Tinubu and the presidential candidate of PDP, Atiku Abubakar.
On their part, the legal representatives of INEC led by Abubakar Mahmoud adopted all his written submissions against Obi’s petition on Tuesday.
He said evidence before the court showed that INEC went to great lengths to ensure the applications used on Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machine were designed to work perfectly. He contended that the petitioners had contrived in their mind a so-called “electronic collation system” without providing any evidence.
Mahmoud argued that what happened to the BVAS machines on presidential election day was a technical glitch, asking the court to dismiss the petitioner’s case of deliberate human interference.
He said INEC Results Viewing Portal IRev was essentially for public viewing and not for collation of results.
“Petitioners have failed to show how the failure to show real-time impacted on the elections,” Mahmoud said.
Mahmoud contended that the court should discountenance the arguments of so called 18,088 blurred results on IREV.
“Those blurred results that was uploaded on IREV, according to the petitioners, did not in any way suggest that the original copies of the result sheets were blurred,” Mahmoud said.
He added that Obi had not tendered copies from their LP agents to substantiate their case.
“Their blurred results were simply for dramatization. Those arguments of blurred results hold no issue at all,” Mahmoud said.
On getting 25 percent votes in FCT, Mahmoud said the court must not adopt an approach that will result in absurdity.
INEC counsel urged the court to declare that FCT is like every other state, as well as dismiss Obi’s petition.