Both opposition candidates assert that Mr Tinubu, representing the All Progressives Congress (APC), did not legitimately win the election.
By Musa Ibrahim, Abuja
On Friday, at the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja, Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, concluded his presentation of evidence against President Bola Tinubu’s election victory. He called 13 witnesses and submitted numerous electoral documents as evidence. Initially planning to call 50 witnesses, Mr Obi was unable to do so within the time allotted by the court.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had previously declared Mr Tinubu the winner of the 25th February election. Dissatisfied with the results, Mr Obi, who placed third in the election, filed a petition challenging Mr Tinubu’s victory. The petition was submitted 20 days after Mr Tinubu was declared president-elect.
Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who came second in the polls, also separately contested the election outcome and closed his case on the same day with 27 witnesses, despite intending to call 100 witnesses. Both opposition candidates assert that Mr Tinubu, representing the All Progressives Congress (APC), did not legitimately win the election.
During the hearing of Mr Obi’s case, his lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu, called Tanko Yunusa, a prominent member of the Labour Party, as a witness. Mr Yunusa, who serves as a spokesperson for Peter Obi’s Presidential Campaign Council, faced cross-examination from Kemi Pinheiro, the SAN (Senior Advocate of Nigeria) representing INEC. Wole Olanipekun and Lateef Fagbemi, both SANs representing Mr Tinubu and the APC, respectively, also questioned Mr Yunusa during the cross-examination session.
One of the queries posed to Mr Yunusa was whether he was aware of a Federal High Court ruling that dismissed the Labour Party’s lawsuit challenging the nomination of vice president Kashim Shettima due to alleged double nomination. Mr Yunusa responded in the negative.
Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, a SAN and member of Mr Obi’s legal team, then called Peter Yari as the 13th witness for the petitioners. Mr Yari, who served as a presiding officer during the presidential election in Kaduna State, affirmed his witness statement on oath.
When questioned by the respondents’ lawyers, Mr Yari mentioned encountering difficulties while attempting to upload the presidential election results on INEC’s Results Viewing Portal. Upon the conclusion of his testimony, Mr Uzoukwu, Mr Obi’s lawyer, informed the court, “My Lords, that is the petitioners’ case.” Consequently, the court adjourned further proceedings until 3rd July, when the respondents—Mr Tinubu, INEC, and the APC—will present their defense.