Presidential Tribunal: Why Atiku, Peter Obi’s Petitions Should Be Dismissed – President Tinubu In His Final Address

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima have offered reasons why the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP), and their presidential candidates, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, should have their petitions dismissed by the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).

According to news reports, Tinubu and Shettima maintain that claims that a candidate must receive 25% of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to be declared president could be the result of a misreading of the Constitution or a misunderstanding of the relevant provisions of the nation’s ground norm.

These contributions were gathered as part of their arguments in two sets of final written addresses filed on the petitions by Atiku/PDP and Obi/LP challenging the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.

According to The Nation, the Tinubu/Shettima legal team, directed by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), filed the two final addresses on Friday.

Tinubu and Shettima described both petitions as strange and hollow, arguing that neither set of petitions provided relevant evidence to support the plaintiffs’ claims that the election was not held in accordance with relevant laws or that the APC presidential and vice presidential candidates were not qualified to contest the election.

The defendants claimed the suits could not even be considered petitions under the country’s electoral laws because they did not “complain about election rigging, ballot box snatching, ballot box stuffing, violence, thuggery, vote buying, voters’ intimidation, disenfranchisement, or interference by the military or the police, and such other electoral vices.”

“The crux of their grouse, in their petitions, is that this time around, while the presidential election was peacefully conducted all over the country (as corroborated by their primary witnesses; that is, the Presiding Officers (POs) and the results accurately recorded in the various Form EC8As, some unidentified results were not uploaded electronically to the INEC Election Result Viewing (IREV) portal,” Tinubu and Shettima said.

Continuing, they said: “The other remote contention of the petitioners is that the 2nd respondent (Tinubu) did not score 25 percent or one-quarter of the votes recorded in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja (FCT); while the petitioners have also tersely alluded to the respondent’s non-qualification, without providing any fact of same in the body of their petitions.”

They claimed that the petitioners failed to provide appropriate and relevant evidence to support their claims, as required by law.

Tinubu claimed victory with 8,794,726 votes, ahead of Atiku/PDP, “who were his closest rival, though trailing at a distance with the total of 6,984,520 votes,” and Obi/LP, who “came a distant third with a total of 6,101,533 votes.”

Furthermore, the defendants claimed that while they received more than 25% of the total votes cast in 29 states, Atiku received the same in 21 states, while Obi received 25% in only 16 states and the FCT.

They said that it was hilarious that while Atiku received 16.13 percent of the votes cast in the FCT, compared to Tinubu’s 19.76 percentscore in the same territory, is not only seeking to be declared the winner of the election, he also wants Tinubu’s victory voided on the grounds that he (Tinubu) did not score 25 percent of the votes cast in the FCT.

Citing previous decisions of the Supreme Court on the status of the FCT, the respondents said: “There is no punctuation (comma) in the entire Section 134(2)(b) of the Constitution, particularly immediately after the ‘states’ and the succeeding ‘and’ connecting the Federal Capital Territory with the states.

“In essence, the reading of the subsection has to be conjunctive and not disjunctive, as the Constitution clearly makes it so.

“Pressed further by this constitutional imperative, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, is taken as if it is the 37 state, under and by virtue of Section 299 of the Constitution.

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