The Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja, yesterday reserved its judgement on petitions seeking to determine President Bola Tinubu’s eligibility to remain in office.
The Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel of the court, okayed the cases for judgement, after all the parties adopted their final briefs of argument.
The two petitions, marked CA/PEPC/05/2023 and CA/PEPC/03/2023, were brought before the court by former Vice President and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as well as the candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr. Peter Obi, respectively.
While adopting their final written address, Atiku and the PDP, through their team of lawyers, led by Chief Chris Uche, SAN, urged the court to declare that President Tinubu was not qualified to contest the presidential poll that held on February 25.
They prayed the court to nullify the entire outcome of the presidential election and order a re-run or fresh contest.
Atiku and his party alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, despite receiving over N355billion for the conduct of the election, deliberately by-passed all the technological innovations it introduced for the purpose of the 2023 general elections.
They contended that INEC acted in breach of the amended Electoral Act, when it refused to electronically transmit results of the presidential election.
Meanwhile, all the Respondents in the two cases- INEC, President Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and the All Progressives Congress, APC- through their respective lawyers, prayed the court to dismiss the petitions as grossly lacking in merit.
INEC’s legal team maintained that the presidential election was not only validly conducted but was done in substantial compliance with all the relevant laws.
The electoral body argued that the petitioners misconstrued and totally misunderstood the purpose of the technology it introduced for the 2023 general elections.
Similarly, President Tinubu and VP Shettima urged the court to dismiss all the petitions.
Addressing the court through their team of lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, the duo said it would not be in public interest for the court to set aside the decision of the electorates that led to their victory at the poll.