Tinubu set to remain in office for next four years as election tribunal dismisses Obi's case

PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu is on course to remain in office for the remainder of his tenure which ends in May 2027 after attempts to get his election overturned failed today with the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal dismissing the challenges brought by the opposition.


After months of legal wrangling, Nigeria's Presidential Election Tribunal delivered its verdict today in response to suits filed by the opposition challenging the outcome of the February 29 presidential elections. President Tinubu had been declared the winner but his opponents Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, went to court challenging the result.


On March 1, 2023, the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) announced Bola Tinubu as the winner of the 2023 presidential election. According to Inec,  the former Lagos State governor secured 8,794,726 votes to defeat Atiku Abubakar of the PDP who garnered 6,984,520, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, who got 6,101,533 votes.⁣


Unsatisfied with the outcome, five political parties, the PDP, Labour Party, Action Peoples Party, Allied Peoples Movement and the Action Alliance, filed separate petitions before the tribunal seeking to annul President Tinubu’s victory. Some of the parties want their candidates to be declared winner, while others want a re-run.


However, in its ruling today, the  Presidential Election Petition Tribunal judged that the petition of the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, was greatly incompetent and defective beyond repairs. Also, the tribunal, in a ruling on several objections against the petition struck out several paragraphs of it for being vague, incompetent, inconsistent, nebulous and self-contradictory.


In the ruling delivered by Justice Abba Mohammed, Mr Obi’s petition was said to have raised several general allegations of malpractices, irregularities, corruption without being specific as required by law. Also, the tribunal held that while Mr Obi claimed to have scored the highest number of lawful votes in the February 25 presidential election, he failed completely to state or specify the number of the lawful votes he claimed to have won.


Justice Mohammed said to worsen the situation, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate pleaded report of forensic experts but failed to file the report along with the petition or serve same on the respondents in the petition. Besides, Justice Mohammed said Mr Obi’s claim that his votes were suppressed in favour of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was vague because he failed to give any figure of votes to establish the claim.


Furthermore, the tribunal also held that Mr Obi’s allegations that votes credited to President Tinubu were inflated was untenable because he never mentioned the number of the votes involved. On the allegations of corrupt practices, Justice Mohammed stated that it is not every allegation of corruption that is regarded as corrupt practices, adding that averments in a pleading must be specific and not general as done by Mr Obi.


Justice Mohammed said: “The law is very clear that where someone alleged irregularities in a particular polling unit, as in the instant petition, such a person must prove the particular irregularities in that poling unit for him to succeed in his petition."


Also, the tribunal held that Mr Obi did not provide evidence of the particular polling units where elections did not take place as his petition claimed. In addition, the tribunal ruled that he also failed to specify particulars of polling units where the complainants of irregularities were alleged.