Election Tribunal: APM Concludes Case Against Tinubu

The witness responded negatively. Pinheiro then presented a letter dated July 6, written by the APC to INEC Chairman Mahmoud Yakubu.

By Johnson Atoukudu:

On Wednesday, the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) concluded its petition against President Bola Tinubu in front of the Presidential Election Petition Court. The APM brought forth one witness to testify in their case. Their petition challenges Tinubu’s election, citing that his Vice President, Kashim Shettima, had double nominations as both a senatorial and vice presidential candidate prior to the February 25 elections.

The APM requested the court to invalidate Tinubu’s victory due to alleged flaws in the process that led to his declaration as president by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The respondents in this case include INEC, President Tinubu, Vice President Shettima, their party (the All Progressives Congress), and Ibrahim Masari.

During the hearing, while cross-examining the witness, INEC’s counsel, Kemi Pinheiro, asked if she was aware of the notice of substitution of a candidate for the Borno Central Senatorial District ticket received by the electoral commission. The witness responded negatively. Pinheiro then presented a letter dated July 6, written by the APC to INEC Chairman Mahmoud Yakubu.

In the letter, the APC withdrew Shettima’s nomination for the Borno Central Senatorial District election and invited the electoral commission to observe its supplementary primary election to select a replacement candidate. This was done in light of Borno Central’s senatorial candidature.

Pinheiro referred to a previous Supreme Court judgment that dismissed a similar suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which was based on the APC’s letter announcing Shettima’s withdrawal from the senatorial race. The other respondents, including Tinubu and the APC, supported INEC’s defense.

The APC’s counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, presented a certified true copy of the Supreme Court judgment that dismissed the PDP’s suit against Shettima’s alleged dual nomination. The witness confirmed the authenticity of the apex court decision, which was admitted as evidence.

Tinubu’s counsel, Wole Olanipekun, informed the court of several paragraphs from the Supreme Court verdict, which were read aloud. Olanipekun aimed to demonstrate the frivolity of the petition challenging Tinubu’s victory.

After the witness was discharged, John Arabs, a deputy director from INEC who was subpoenaed, presented an “original online form submitted by Mr. Shettima” and other electoral documents.

Following the arguments presented by all the lawyers involved, Justice Haruna Tsammani, the chairman of the panel, instructed the respondents to submit their final written addresses within 10 days, with the APM given seven days from the respondents’ filing to submit its written address. The hearing was adjourned until July 14 for the adoption of written addresses.

Prior to Wednesday’s proceedings, the APM’s case experienced a pause due to a recent Supreme Court judgment concerning a similar matter brought before the PEPC. On May 30, Tinubu’s counsel, Olanipekun, informed the court of this judgment, suggesting that it had resolved the same issue raised by the APM. He referred to a Supreme Court decision on Friday, May 26, that dismissed a suit filed by the PDP, which sought to nullify the ticket producing the president and vice president based on double nomination.

Despite Olanipekun’s reminder of the apex court’s judgment, APM’s counsel, G.A. Idiagbonya, expressed the intention to proceed with the case during Monday’s hearing. Despite receiving the Supreme Court judgment that could potentially terminate their petition, Idiagbonya and his legal team insisted on moving forward with the current petition after reviewing the Supreme Court judgment.

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