APC Urges Tribunal to Dismiss Opposition Parties’ Petitions Against Tinubu’s Victory - 9japarrot


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Monday 10 April 2023

APC Urges Tribunal to Dismiss Opposition Parties’ Petitions Against Tinubu’s Victory


By Nurat Uthman

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has requested that the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) in Abuja reject petitions filed by three opposition parties challenging the victory of its presidential candidate, Sen. Bola Tinubu, in the February 25th election.

In three separate responses filed at the PEPC’s Secretariat, Sunday night, by Thomas Ojo, a member of the party’s legal team led by Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, the APC urged the tribunal to dismiss the petitions.

The Action Alliance (AA), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), and Action People’s Party (APP) had all filed separate petitions, challenging the emergence of Tinubu as president-elect.

The AA’s petition sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, Tinubu, and Hamza Al-Mustapha, its factional presidential candidate, and former CSO to late Gen. Sani Abacha.

The APM’s petition joined INEC, APC, Tinubu, Kashim Shettima, and Kabir Masari, who stood as a vice-presidential placeholder during the primaries before he was substituted with Shettima. Meanwhile, APP dragged Tinubu, APC, and INEC to court as 1st to 3rd respondents, respectively.

The three political parties are contesting the outcome of the presidential election, claiming substantial non-compliance with the electoral laws and the INEC guidelines.

The AA claimed that its candidate, Solomon-David Okanigbuan, was excluded from the presidential poll, based on which the election should be voided.

The APM is contending that Tinubu was not qualified to contest the election on the grounds of the alleged double nomination of his vice-presidential candidate.

It is also questioning Tinubu’s candidacy on the grounds of the substitution of the initial placeholder, Kabir Masari, with Shettima.

On its part, the APP claimed that Tinubu was not qualified to contest the poll by the provisions of Sections 131(c) and 142 of the Constitution and Section 35 of the Electoral Act 2022.

However, in its response, the APC faulted the AA’s claim that its presidential candidate was excluded from the election. The APC stated that Tinubu “was duly elected and returned as the President-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having won the majority of lawful votes cast in the said election devoid of corrupt practices or vices and in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended).”

The APC also argued that Okanigbuan was not nominated and sponsored by the AA as its candidate to contest the presidential elections. Instead, it claimed that Al-Mustapha was the actual candidate of the AA, who was recognised by INEC.

Furthermore, the APC noted that the grounds on which the AA brought its petition were not meritorious, adding that the petition was based on pre-election issues, which are outside the original jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal being a Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

In its notice of preliminary objection, the APC questioned the competence of the petition, saying that issues of nomination, sponsorship, and exclusion of candidates for an election are pre-election matters that cannot be raised before an election tribunal.

The APC urged the tribunal to dismiss the petitions filed by the APM and APP as well. The APC prayed that the PEPC would disregard the petitions, stating that they were also based on pre-election issues.

The party added that the petitions were statute-barred, having not been commenced within the mandatory 14 days provided for under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.

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