In order to prove his victory in the presidential election held on February 25, Labour Party candidate Mr. Peter Obi produced certified copies of the results from six federation-wide states on Thursday.
The results, which came from 115 Local Government Areas (LGAs), were presented by Obi as evidence before the Abuja-based Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).
Obi’s legal team was headed by Prof. Awa Kalu, SAN, although one of his attorneys, Chief Emeka Opoko, SAN, submitted the Forms EC8A from the Bar, which contained the election results.
The first set of results of the election that was tendered before the court by the LP candidate who came third in the presidential election was from 15 out of 22 LGAs of Rivers State.
Despite opposition by all the respondents in the matter, Justice Haruna Tsammani-led’s five-member panel admitted the Rivers state results and marked them as Exhibits PD 1 to PD 15.
Obi and the LP equally tendered results from 23 LGAs in Benue state, which were also admitted in evidence and marked as Exhibits PC 1 to PC 23, while results from 18 LGAs in Cross River State were added in evidence as Exhibits PD1 – PD 18.
On Niger state, Obi tendered Forms EC8A from 23 LGAs and they were admitted in evidence as Exhibits PE-1 to PE 23, as well as that of 20 LGAs in Osun state which were marked as Exhibits PF 1 – PF 20.
The last set of results the petitioners adduced and tendered in evidence before the court were from 16 LGAs in Ekiti and they were marked as Exhibits PG 1 to PG 16.
The Justice Tsammani-led panel subsequently adjourned further proceedings in the matter till Friday.
All the respondents said they would give reasons why they challenged the admissibility of the presidential election results that Obi and the LP tendered in evidence, in their final written address.
Cited as 1st to 4th respondents in the petition, are; the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, President Bola Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima and the All Progressives Congress, APC.
It will be recalled that Obi and the LP had indicated their decision to call a total of 50 witnesses in the matter.
Specifically, Obi, in the joint petition he filed with the LP, is contending that President Tinubu was not the valid winner of the election.
The petitioners, in the case, marked: CA/PEPC/03/2023, equally maintained that President Tinubu was not qualified to participate in the presidential contest.
According to the petitioners, at the time Tinubu’s running mate, Shettima, became the Vice Presidential candidate, he was still the nominated candidate of the APC for the Borno Central Senatorial election.
The petitioners further challenged Tinubu’s eligibility to contest the presidential election, alleging that he was previously indicted and fined the sum of $460,000.00 by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Case No: 93C 4483, for an offence involving dishonesty and drug trafficking.
On the ground that the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provision of the Electoral Act, 2022, the petitioners argued that INEC acted in breach of its own Regulations and Guidelines.
The Petitioners argued that the electoral body was in the course of the conduct of the presidential poll, mandatorily required to prescribe and deploy technological devices for the accreditation, verification, continuation and authentication of voters and their particulars as contained in its Regulations.
They are, therefore, praying the court to among other things, declare that all the votes recorded for Tinubu and the APC, were wasted votes owing to his non-qualification/disqualification.
“That it is determined that on the basis of the remaining votes (after discountenancing the votes credited to the 2nd Respondent) the 1st Petitioner (Obi) scored a majority of the lawful votes cast at the election and had not less than 25% of the votes cast in at least 2/3 of the States of the Federation, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and satisfied the constitutional requirements to be declared the winner of the 25th February 2023 presidential election.
“That it be determined that the 2nd Respondent having failed to score one-quarter of the votes cast at the presidential election in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja was not entitled to be declared and returned as the winner of the presidential election held on 25th February 2023.
In the alternative, the petitioners, want an order cancelling the election and compelling INEC to conduct a fresh election in which Tinubu, Shettima and the APC, listed as 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents, respectively, shall not participate.
They urged the court to declare that since Tinubu was not duly elected by a majority of the lawful votes cast in the election, therefore, his return as the winner of the presidential election, was unlawful, unconstitutional and of no effect whatsoever.
In a further alternative prayer, the petitioners want the court to hold that the presidential election was void on the ground that it was not conducted substantially in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, and the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Likewise, the applied for an order, “cancelling the presidential election conducted on 25th February 2023 and mandating the 1st Respondent to conduct a fresh election for the President, the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
Meanwhile, both Obi and his Vice Presidential candidate, Baba Ahmed Datti, were in court on Thursday to observe the proceeding.