According to the judge, the testimonies of the presiding officers called by Atiku as witnesses were “so clear and cogent that the election went well.”
The judge said the presiding officers called by Atiku to testify for him insisted that “the election went well, but that the only issue was that they were not able to connect to INEC’s portal.”
The tribunal ruled that for a petitioner to successfully prove non-compliance with the Electoral Act, the petitioner must call witnesses to prove the acts of non-compliance and show that the acts affected the outcome of the election.
Justice Tsammani said Atiku failed to call any of his polling unit agents who signed the polling unit results and witnessed what took place in their domains. He said the few agents called by the petitioner were state and national agents.
Tribunal begins its ruling on the petition of Atiku Abubakar and the PDP.
Court dismisses Peter Obi’s petition. It said the petitioner was unable to prove any of the three grounds upon which the petition was anchored.
Tsammani said from the reading of section 134 of the constitution, the reference to the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory indicates nothing more than the consistency of how the constitution refers to them throughout all the provisions whenever they are mentioned together.
The tribunal ruled that the argument of LP’s lawyers that the 2nd Respondent ought not to be declared winner of the election because he scored less than 25 per cent votes in the FCT is “fallacious and incredibly ridiculous.”
The court says the petitioners failed to lead any credible evidence to prove their allegations of suppression of votes, wrong computation of results, manipulation of results, and inflation of results.
Of the 13 witnesses they called, only two were presiding officers who were present at the polling units, the court adds.
The court says the petitioners, allegations were mere speculations and unfounded allegations.
On the issue of overvoting, Tsammani says the petitioners failed to specify the polling units where overvoting took place.
He adds that the petitioners also failed to specify the number of votes and the margin of lead affected by overvoting.
This means, the judge says, the petitioners failed to establish the allegations of corrupt practices.
The tribunal said the only technological device that is mandatory for INEC to use for the election is the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS).
Tsammani added that there is nothing in the regulation to show that the BVAS must electronically transmit polling units results.
The tribunal also struck out LP’s case, on the failure of INEC to transmit the results via IReV. The tribunal ruled that there is no law that says INEC must mandatorily transfer or transmit the results of the election from the polling units electronically. It says the law empowers INEC to decide the means of collation of the results of elections in Nigeria.
The tribunal ruled that Tinubu was not a party to the judgement of US District in Northern Illinois which ordered that he forfeit $460,000 in a drugs-related case which was a civil proceedings.
The tribunal is now dealing with the case of the disqualification of Tinubu based on his alleged criminal record in the US.
On the allegations of double nomination against Shettima, the tribunal referred to its earlier ruling in the petition of APM, where it dismissed the case.
The tribunal dismissed Obi’s objections to the admissibility of Tinubu’s academic record from the Chicago State University and the US embassy letter to the Nigerian police, clearing Tinubu of any criminal record in the US.
The tribunal ruled that the issue of blurred 18,000 results sheets alleged by the petitioners is misconceived as they were unable to state the specific polling units they were meant for.
Justice Tsammani said according to section 285 of the 1999 constitution, section 137(7) of the Electoral Act 2022, and other provisions, every witness statement on oath must be filed along with the petition.
He said that as directed by the Supreme Court, once the 21 days window for filing an election petition lapses, the content of the petition cannot be amended.
He says further that no additional statement on oath can be filed after the close of the window since the respondents would not have the opportunity to respond to it.
Tribunal strikes out evidence of 10 of the 13 witnesses presented by Obi and LP.
Justice Haruna Tsammani has now taken over, reading the judgement on the substantive petition filed by Obi and LP.
“Peter Obi claimed the votes cast in Oyo, Ekiti, Yobe and others were more than BVAS accredited votes. The petitioner failed to support such claims with evidence”
“Peter Obi and LP claimed to have scored the majority of lawful votes cast, but they failed to state the number of lawful votes they scored. The determination of an election is about figures”
Obi didn’t need to add Atiku as a party to his own suit, the court also ruled. The judge said a petitioner is not under any obligation to join a candidate who lost the election like himself in his petition.
The tribunal strikes out the respondent’s objection that Obi was not a member of the LP when the party submitted its membership register to INEC. According to the court, it has no jurisdiction on the matter as only the party can determine who its members are.
The tribunal also ruled that Obi and the LP failed to provide particulars of corrupt practices, suppression of votes, entry of fictitious results and other irregularities in their pleadings.
He agrees with first respondent (INEC) that the petitioner alleged widespread irregularities without giving the particulars and in which polling units.
Justice Abba Mohammed is reading the ruling on the objection of the respondents against Peter Obi’s petition.
Tribunal resumes sittings from break and will read its ruling on Peter Obi and LP’s petition.
The tribunal has proceeded on a 15-minute break.
The tribunal further ruled that the issue of double nomination had already been resolved by the Supreme Court in the case brought before it by the PDP.
According to him, the APM does not have the right to relitigate the issue since it was not a party to the case at the tribunal.
Tsammani said, “The issue of qualification or disqualification is a constitutional one. The issue of disqualification or qualification is a pre-election matter.
“It must be determined before the conduct of the election. This court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter and even if it does it is status-barred because it is a pre-election matter.”
The tribunal has ruled that the suit is challenging Shettima’s alleged double nomination is meant to be a pre-election matter and should have been heard at the High Court before the election.
The judge said that issue of qualification of a candidate of a political party is not an all comers’ affair. He added that the internal affair such as the nomination of a candidate of a political party is not the business of another political party.
The tribunal starts with the case of APM, alleging the double nomination of Shettima.
9:28am: Judges file in as proceedings begin. Justice Haruna Tsammani head of the five-man tribunal welcomes all to the “zenith” of the hearing which he said might take several hours.
8.47 a.m: Vice-President Kashim Shettima has arrived at the courtroom.
Governors of Imo Hope Uzodinma, Bauchi Bala Mohammed, Abdullahi Sule, APC National Chairman Abdullahi Ganduje and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu are seated in court ahead of the verdict.
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal will today deliver its judgment on the petitions of the Peoples Democratic Party and its Presidential Candidate Atiku Abubakar, Labour Party and its Presidential Candidate Peter Obi and the Allied Peoples Movement Challenging the election of President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress.
The tribunal had on August 1, reserved judgement on the petitions after listening to the petitioners’ final address.
Atiku had in his final address, asked the tribunal to declare him the winner of the February 25 presidential election. According to him, President Tinubu was not qualified to contest the election “having regard to an order of criminal forfeiture against him arising from a drug-related offence, his declaration of allegiance to a country other than Nigeria and acquisition of citizenship of another country and presenting a forged certificate to the first respondent (INEC)”.
He also said that Tinubu’s declaration as the winner of the presidential election was “invalidated by reason of substantial non-compliance with the mandatory provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 on electronic transmission of results for collation and verification by deliberate bypass of and failure to transmit the election results electronically”.
He added, “Notwithstanding, the first respondent (INEC) unequivocally and clearly admitted in its pleadings, namely paragraph 18 on page 13 of its reply to the petition, which was never refuted nor retracted that the petitioners won 21 states of the federation in the presidential election, which is an admission against interest.
“As a result of non-use of the collation by electronic transmission, the first respondent (INEC) later altered the admitted result of 21 states for the first petitioner to 12 states.
“The petitioners have established that the return of the 2nd respondent as the winner of the presidential election held on 25th day of February 2023, was unlawful and unconstitutional, having not secured one-quarter of the valid votes cast in the FCT, Abuja as required by the Constitution of the Federal of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended).
“The petitioners have proved that the second respondent was not duly elected by a majority of the lawful votes cast in the election. 41 (e). The respondents proffered very scanty evidence in defence and virtually abandoned their pleadings by not calling necessary witnesses, and not having any credible defence to the Petition. 6.02 We submit with all sense of responsibility that this Nation and its Judiciary stand at the threshold of history.”
Obi in how final address, argued that Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima were not qualified to contest in the election.
He aalso said INEC was wrong to have declared Tinubu the winner having not scored 25 per cent of the votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“Hence, the deliberate amendment of the drafters of the 1999 Constitution, to include the additional requirement of 25 percent votes in the FCT must not be rendered redundant as it is possible that the drafters intended that the popularity of the winning candidate must extend not only to an appreciable geographical spread, but also to the FCT being the capital city and melting pot for all Nigerians and which would truly reflect the will of all Nigerians,” Obi said.
APM’s whose petition is anchored on the sole ground of alleged double nomination of Shettima, sought the cancellation of APC’s votes and declaration of Atiku the winner of the poll.
INEC had declared Tinubu winner of the presidential election with a total votes of 8,794,726 ahead of PDP’s 6,984,520 and LP’s 6,101,533. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) had 1,496,687 votes to place fourth.