Court Rejects Another Petition Challenging Tinubu’s Victory
On Wednesday, the Action Peoples Party (APP) filed a new petition with the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja with the intention of challenging Bola Tinubu’s election as president-elect of Nigeria.
Following the Action Alliance’s withdrawal of its challenge to Mr. Tinubu’s victory, a five-member court panel chaired by Haruna Tsammani dismissed a petition by the party on Monday.
After being named the winner of the election by INEC, Mr. Tinubu, who ran for president on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was challenged in five different petitions.
Political parties and their candidates, such as Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were among the petitioners. They complained to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about how the election was handled.
Among other things, they prayed for the court to declare Mr. Tinubu’s victory invalid and to order a new election.
APP’s attorney, Obed Agu, however, informed the court during Wednesday’s proceedings that he had filed a notice of withdrawal of the petition on May 9.
“We are asking the court to grant us permission to withdraw this petition, which was filed on March 19.
“As well as an order striking out or dismissing the petition, same having been withdrawn,” the attorney stated.
Mr. Agu based the petition’s discontinuance on clauses 29(1)(2) and (3) of the Schedule for Election Petitions.
He withheld the details of the party’s abrupt turn.
Nnadi Osita, the presidential candidate for the APP, received only 12,839 votes, compared to Mr. Tinubu’s 8.8 million votes.
Its 19 March petition claimed, among other things, that Mr. Tinubu “corruptly induced” election officials at local government and state collation centers in “Kano, Kaduna, Imo, Rivers, Kebbi, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun, Kogi and Kwara states” in order to change the results of the presidential election in his favour.
The party claimed that Mr. Tinubu had “fictitious figures ascribed to him,” “giving him a significant lead and advantage in the various states.”
In a short ruling, the court dismissed the petition.
“Having listened to all the parties, we are satisfied that there is no collusion. The petition having been withdrawn, it is hereby dismissed,” Mr Tsammani said.
Tinubu is pleased that the petition has been withdrawn
Wole Olanipenkun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who represents Mr. Tinubu, did not raise a challenge to APP’s request to withdraw the petition.
“We want to congratulate them and hope that more will follow. My Lords, we are not asking for money,” Mr. Olanipenkun said, drawing chuckles from the courtroom’s crowded audience of lawyers.
In a similar vein, SAN Lateef Fagemi, counsel for the APC, did not object to the petition’s withdrawal.
Mr. Fagbemi urged additional litigants, including Atiku and Mr. Obi, to follow the AA and APP’s guidelines and withdraw their complaints.
“We applaud the petitioners for acting morally. Those who haven’t should do it right away, according to Mr. Fagbemi.
INEC’s attorney Abubakar Mahmoud did not object to the petition’s withdrawal.
The APP withdrew its petition on Wednesday, leaving Mr. Tinubu and his party to defend three cases.
Mr. Tinubu is battling the third case brought by the All Peoples Movement (APM), in addition to the more well-known cases brought by the PDP and the Labour Party.
In its petition, APM requested that Atiku Abubakar, who finished second in the election, be recognized as the new president.
The APM argued that Mr. Tinubu was improperly sponsored by the APC by running Kashim Shettima as his vice presidential candidate for the election. The APM’s presidential candidate, Chichi Ojei, received 25,961 votes.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state of Katsina politician Ibrahim Masari was selected by Mr. Tinubu as a “placeholder” for the actual vice presidential candidate, who would later be Mr. Shettima, when he submitted his presidential nomination form to INEC in June 2022.
The petitioner charged Mr. Shettima with “double nominations” for being selected by the APC as both its vice-presidential flagbearer for the election of 25 February as well as senatorial candidate for Borno Central District.