On Monday, Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, presented election results from seven states to the Presidential Election Petition Court. Mr Obi, who secured the third position in the February presidential election, is asserting his claim to Nigeria’s presidency as the rightful winner of the February 25th election.
Similarly, Atiku Abubakar from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is challenging the victory of President Bola Tinubu from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the same election. Despite Mr Tinubu being inaugurated as Nigeria’s 16th leader on May 29th, the legal proceedings initiated by Mr Obi and Atiku to contest his victory are ongoing.
Mr Obi and Atiku based their petitions on the argument that the election suffered from widespread irregularities, including non-compliance with electoral laws and alleged result manipulation favoring Mr Tinubu. During Monday’s court session, Mr Obi’s lawyers, Ben Anichebe and Valerie Azinge, submitted result sheets from seven Nigerian states: Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Imo, Ondo, Sokoto, and Kogi. The court admitted these results as exhibits.
However, Mr Tinubu’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun, and the APC’s lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi, objected to the admissibility of the results. The legal team representing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the electoral umpire, also opposed the admission of the electoral documents. These objections were reserved for discussion until the closing arguments in the case.
Following the admission of the documents as exhibits, the panel led by Haruna Tsammani adjourned the proceedings and scheduled the continuation of the hearing for June 6th.
Last week, Mr Obi had already presented electoral documents, including result sheets from 12 states in the country. Despite winning the presidential election in Lagos, Nasarawa, Delta, Ebonyi, Imo, and other states, Mr Obi argues that his votes were significantly suppressed in favor of Mr Tinubu. As part of his case, the Labour Party candidate has called one witness and plans to present a substantial amount of electoral documents and 50 witnesses to support his claims of widespread fraud during the February 25th presidential election.
Mr Obi has a three-week period to substantiate his case against INEC, Mr Tinubu, and the APC respondents involved in the lawsuit.