11 Apr Five petitions So Far Against Tinubu’s Victory: Prayers and Grounds
Five petitions have been submitted so far to the Presidential Election Tribunal, against the victory of the All Progressive Congress at the February 25 presidential election.
The election which is still a subject of controversy was characterized by such irregularities as intimidation, voter suppression, deliberate disenfranchisement, and violence, at least in some parts of the country.
The Independent National Electoral Commission declared Bola Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor and APC candidate winner of the election, after polling the highest number of votes and satisfying the constitutional requirement of scoring 25% in two-third of the states of the federation. Tinubu polled 8.7 million votes to defeat his closest rivals, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party who polled 6.9 million, and the Labour Party’s Peter Obi who scored 6.1 million votes.
However, both first and second runner-ups have rejected the results of the election, each claiming that he won. They have both submitted petitions to the Federal Court of Appeal, which is empowered to preside over the presidential election tribunal.
It should be noted that only candidates and political parties who participated in the election can challenge its outcome in court. According to the Electoral Act, 2022, ordinary citizens cannot petition the tribunal.
According to Section 134 of the Electoral Act, 2022, a party that intends to challenge the process and/or outcome of an election can do so on the basis of the elected individual not being qualified at the time of the election; invalidity of the election by reason of corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provisions of the Act; and/or the respondent not being duly elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast at the election.
Section 132(7) and (8) of the Electoral Act, 2022 also provide that the election petition must be filed within 21 days after the date of the declaration of results of the elections and the Tribunal shall deliver a judgement in writing within 180 days from the date of the filing of the petition.
Five petitions have been submitted so far by candidates of the Labour Parry, the PDP, APM, AA, and the AAP.
Below are Prayers and grounds for appeal of each candidate
The petition jointly filed by Mr Obi and his party is challenging not just the results of the election, but also the qualification of both Mr Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima. Obi in his petition stated that Tinubu.
The petition contains a total of five prayers divided into two categories – two main prayers and three alternative prayers.
On the election itself, he argued that Mr Tinubu should not have been declared winner as he failed to secure one-quarter of the lawful votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. He also alleged that the APC candidate did not win the majority of the lawful votes cast in the election.
GROUND 1: Mr Obi argued that Mr Tinubu was not qualified to contest the election due to alleged involvement in a drug deal. The petitioners alleged that Mr Tinubu “was fined $460,000 for an offence involving dishonesty, namely narcotics trafficking imposed by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in case no:93C 4483″ between the United States of America and Bola Tinubu.
GROUND 2: That Mr Shettima was not qualified to participate in the election as a running mate. The petitioners alleged that Mr Shettima had dual nominations at the same time – separately nominated running mate and senatorial candidate in Borno Central senatorial primary election.
It was claimed that the APC nominated Mr Shettima as its candidate for Borno Central Senatorial District as of 15 July 2022, while having already been chosen by Mr Tinubu as his running mate.
That Mr Tinubu was not duly elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast at the election. The petitioners argue that votes cast in a Polling Unit should not be more than the total number of accredited voters in the BVAS. However, based on some Forensic Reports they cited, “the votes cast in the Polling Units in Ekiti State, Oyo State, Ondo State, Taraba State, Osun State, Kano State, Rivers State, Borno State, Katsina State, Kwara State, Gombe State, Yobe State and Niger State exceeded the number of voters accredited on the BVAS in those states.”
1a. Obi and the LP want the court to determine that both Tinubu and Shettima were not qualified to contest the February 25 presidential election.
1b. That the court declares all the votes recorded by the APC candidates as wasted votes, owing to their non-qualification.
1c. On the basis of the remaining votes, Peter Obi be declared the winner of the election.
2. That the court determines that having failed to secure 25% of votes in the Federal Capital Territory, Tinubu should not have been declared winner of the election
3. That the court orders the cancellation of the election, and order a fresh one in which the trio of Tinubu, Shettima and the APC are barred from participating.
4. That the court declares the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the election as void, and unconstitutional. Included in the first prayer is an order asking INEC to issue a certificate of return to Obi as the duly elected President, on the premise that he scored the highest number of votes and won over 25% in the FCT.
5. That the election be declared void and a fresh one be conducted by INEC.
The petition by the PDP is jointly filed with its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who came second in the election. Like Obi, Atiku claims that he won the election.
GROUNDS FOR APPEAL
Ground 1. That INEC did not comply with provisions of the Electoral Act, therefore the February 25 election was invalid. Some of the guidelines allegedly disregarded by the commission include not uploading results on the INEC Result Viewing (IRev) portal; wrong allocation of votes to Tinubu; and Tinubu’s inability to secure 25% of votes in the FCT; That the number of PVC collections in polling units where elections were cancelled across the country is more than the margin between Tinubu and Atiku – 1,810,206
Ground 2. That the is invalid on account of corrupt practices before and during the election. Some of the irregularities identified in the petition include voter suppression, manipulation of BVAS machines, manipulation of accreditation and collation, intimidation and harassment of voters, massive thumbprinting to ballot papers, and mutilation of result sheets, among others.
Ground 3. That Tinubu was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast. It was alleged in the petition that INEC deducted votes from Atiku and allocated them to Tinubu.
Ground 4. That Tinubu was not qualified to contest the election.
The petitioners prayed for the following reliefs:
1. The court should determine that Tinubu was not duly elected, therefore his victory as declared by INEC be pronounced unlawful, unconstitutional, and wrong.
2. The court should declare Tinubu’s victory invalid for failing to secure 25% of votes cast in the FCT.
3. Determine that Tinubu was not qualified to contest the election.
4. That Atiku Abubakar be declared winner of the election and sworn in as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
5. An order asking INEC to conduct a run-off election between Tinubu and Atiku.
6. The election be nullified and a fresh election conducted by INEC.
The All Peoples Movement (APM) also challenged the victory of Tinubu, on the premise that the nomination and sponsorship of his running mate, Kashim Shettima was “flawed”. Interestingly, the APM, which polled 25,961 votes in the election is seeking that the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar who came second be declared president-elect by the Tribunal.
GROUNDS FOR APPEAL
Ground 1. Dual nomination of Shettima by the APC as a senatorial candidate in Borno Central District and as a Vice-Presidential candidate.
Ground 2. Ibrahim Masari’s withdrawal as running mate invalidates Tinubu’s candidacy. Masari was chosen as a placeholder for the Vice Presidential candidate of the APC to beat INEC’s deadline for the submission of names of running mates.
1. An order nullifying “all the votes scored” by Mr Tinubu in the presidential election in view of his non-qualification as a candidate.
2. Votes scored by Tinubu and the APC be declared void and his declaration as President-elect be set aside.
3. Having voided Tinubu’s votes, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, who scored the second-highest number of votes should be declared President-elect.
Joining the league of petitioners is a faction of the Action Alliance (AA) asking the Tribunal to nullify Tinubu’s victory in the presidential election on account of INEC’s omission of its candidate, Solomon-David Okanigbuan, from the election. INEC had recognised Hamzat Al-Mustapha, a former chief security officer to late Nigerian dictator, Sani Abacha, as AA’s presidential candidate for the election.
GROUNDS FOR APPEAL
Ground 1. “Unlawful” exclusion of Mr Okanigbuan from the election despite court orders confirming his as the party’s authentic candidate. That this exclusion renders the election invalid.
Ground 2. That the exclusion of its authentic candidate led to a disenfranchisement of its “numerous supporters who could not vote because their preferred candidate was not on the ballot.”
1. The petitioners pray that the election won by Tinubu be set aside, and INEC should conduct a fresh election.
The Actions People’s Party is the latest petitioner against the Vivtory of Bola Tinubu at the presidential election. In a petition filed on March 19, the AAP and its candidate, Nnadi Osita, who polled 12,839 votes, alleged that Tinubu and the APC, in connivance with electoral officers, manipulated results in some states to secure his victory. The AAP specifically argued that the numbers of votes allocated to Tinubu in 11 states were “fictitious”.
GROUNDS FOR APPEAL
Ground 1: Inducement of voters and electoral officers at local government and state collation centres in “Kano, Kaduna, Imo, Rivers, Kebbi, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun, Kogi and Kwara states” by Tinubu with a view to alter the presidential election results in his favour.
Ground 2: Deliberate disenfranchisement of voters who rejected financial inducement.
Ground 3: That INEC in connivance with APC agents “falsified, altered and mutilated (election) results from the various polling units” in the eleven states mentioned above.
Ground 4: Violation of the Electoral Act on the use of technology by INEC.
Ground 5: That Tinubu failed to secure the majority of lawful votes in the election.
Ground 6: That the President-elect provided false information on his age, and academic qualifications.
The petitioner sought the following reliefs from the Court:
1. Tinubu’s victory be overturned.
2. Order a fresh election to be conducted by INEC.