Peter Obi & Atiku Reject Presidential Tribunal Court Judgement – Head To Supreme Court

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, rejected Wednesday’s court judgment declaring Bola Ahmed Tinubu as duly elected Nigeria president. The Labour Party also criticized the judgement on Wednesday, stating that the verdict did not reflect the desire of the people.

They have vowed to appeal against the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Court at the Supreme Court, the final court on presidential election disputes.

The five-member panel of the court, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani in a unanimous ruling on Wednesday, dismissed the petitions of the opposition candidates. The court cited the inability of Atiku and Peter Obi to prove the substance of their respective cases.

The court equally dismissed the third petition filed by a political party, the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), for being unmeritorious.

Speaking to journalists in Abuja after the pronouncement of the tribunal, the National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Obiora Ifoh, said the judgement did not reflect the law and the desire of the people. Obiora Ifoh said the party would not relent until the people’ will prevail because justice was not served in the judgement delivered.

According to his words; “The Labour Party watched with dismay and trepidation the dismissal of petitions by the five-person panel of the Presidential Election Petition Court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, and we reject the outcome of the judgment in its entirety because justice was not served, and it did not reflect the law and the desire of the people.

“Nigerians were witnesses to the electoral robbery that took place on February 25, 2023, which was globally condemned, but the Tribunal, in its wisdom, refused to accept the obvious. What is at stake is democracy, and we will not relent until the people will prevail,” he stated. He further stated that the party would present a more detailed position when it gets the certified true copy of the judgment.

Meanwhile, Atiku and Peter Obi also announced that they will challenge the judgement of the tribunal at the Supreme Court. Addressing journalists shortly after the verdict, which lasted 13 hours, Atiku’s lead lawyer, Chris Uche, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said he had already got his client’s instruction to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. According to his words; “We have our client’s strong instruction to appeal the judgement at the supreme court,” Mr Uche stated.

In the same vein, Peter Obi’s lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), expressed the Labour Party presidential candidate displeasure over the court decision. According to his words; “Our clients are dissatisfied with the judgement just delivered. I have the firm instruction of our client to challenge the judgement on appeal,” the senior lawyer said.

Speaking on the difficulties of electoral litigants to prove their suits, Mr Uzoukwu warned that electoral jurisprudence would disappear.  According to his words; “We have to be very careful in this country, otherwise, electoral jurisprudence will disappear. When those who contest elections find it difficult to establish their case, they may resort to other means which might not be quite good,” he said.

The panel had announced that the certified true copy of the judgement would be made available to all the parties. Earlier in the courtroom, Mr Uche requested a copy of the judgement from the panel to enable him to immediately begin the filing process and beat strict deadlines for such filing.

But responding to the request, Justice Tsammani, the head of the five-member panel of the presidential election petition court, said copies of the judgement would be made available to parties in the suit on Thursday.

However, Vice President Kashim Shettima described the court decision as the triumph of democracy. Shettima, who was in court throughout the verdict hearing, lauded the judiciary for upholding constitutional democracy. Conveying Tinubu’s joy over the outcome of the petitions, the Vice President noted that fulfilling their electoral promises had just begun.

Austine Ikeru
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