President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are scheduled to begin presenting their case in response to the petitions filed by the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP), Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, respectively. The petitions challenge the conduct and outcome of the presidential election held on February 25, which Tinubu and the APC won.
Earlier, Atiku and Obi concluded their arguments before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) last week Friday. INEC had previously declared Tinubu as the winner, having received the highest number of votes, with Atiku and Obi as the major contenders.
However, Atiku, Obi, and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) were dissatisfied with the election outcome and filed petitions before the court. They claimed that Tinubu did not win the election based on the majority of lawful votes cast, and they raised concerns about electoral malpractices and non-compliance with relevant laws.
The joint petition by the PDP and Atiku argued that INEC did not follow the Electoral Act (2022) in conducting the election, particularly in regards to the non-utilization of electronic transmission of results through the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV).
Similarly, the LP and Obi’s petition contended that the elections were marred by electoral malpractices and substantial non-compliance with laws.
The APM, another petitioner, sought nullification of the votes received by President Tinubu and the APC, citing alleged double nomination of Senator Kashim Shetimma, who is now the vice president.
During the proceedings, Atiku and the PDP presented 27 witnesses and various documents, while Obi and the LP called 13 witnesses and submitted numerous documents. The APM, on the other hand, presented only one witness.
One of the key witnesses for Atiku and the PDP was a private lawyer named Mike Enahoro-Ebah, who presented Tinubu’s academic records and biodata obtained from INEC. The witness also tendered electoral documents to support Atiku’s claims of electoral fraud by INEC and Tinubu.
Objections were raised by the respondents, INEC, Tinubu, and the APC, regarding the admissibility of the documents. They stated that their reasons for objection would be included in their final written addresses.
Now, it is the turn of the respondents to present their defense and challenge the claims made by the petitioners in court. INEC plans to call two witnesses, President Tinubu intends to call 39 witnesses (in addition to those to be subpoenaed), and the APC plans to call 25 witnesses (in addition to those to be subpoenaed).