Labor Party rejects ruling of the Presidential Election Tribunal, expresses deep sadness for Nigeria's situation | #NwokeukwuMascot

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The Labour Party has rejected the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court upholding the declaration of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the 2023 presidential election.

Obiora Ifoh, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Obiora Ifoh, said the ruling does not “reflect the desire of the people”.

Ifoh said this shortly after the court announced its decision in Abuja on Wednesday, Vanguard reports.

Ifoh said, “The Labour Party watched with dismay and trepidation the dismissal of petitions by the five-man panel of the Presidential Election Petition Court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani today and we reject the outcome of the judgment in its entirety because justice was not served and it did not reflect the law and the desire of the people.

“Nigerians were witnesses to the electoral robbery that took place on February 25, 2023, which was globally condemned but the Tribunal in its wisdom refused to accept the obvious.

“What is at stake is democracy and we will not relent until the people will prevail. We salute the doggedness of our team of lawyers who fearlessly exposed the wrath in our system.

“We can only weep for democracy in Nigeria but we refuse to give up on Nigeria.”

“We urge all lovers of democracy to remain focused and hopeful because a new Nigeria is possible.”

SaharaReporters earlier reported that the Presidential Election Petition Court had struck out the petition filed by Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP) against President Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima.

The PEPC dismissed the petition, saying it lacked merit.

SaharaReporters had reported that Obi prayed the court to declare him as the candidate that secured the majority of the lawful votes cast with the required constitutional spread of not less than 25% of the votes cast in at least two-thirds of the states of the federation, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

He pleaded with the court to order a fresh poll, with the exclusion of both Tinubu and the APC, by virtue of their non-qualification to participate in the election.

Respondents in the petition are the Independent National Electoral Commission, President Bola Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

On March 1, INEC announced Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election contested by 18 candidates.

It declared that Tinubu got a total of 8,794,726 votes to defeat Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party who got a total of 6,984,520 votes and Obi who came third with a total of 6,101,533 votes.

However, on Wednesday, the court said the petitioners “failed to specify the particular polling units and specific places where electoral malpractice occurred”.

Justice Abba Mohammed, one of the members of the tribunal’s five-member panel, said the “petitioners failed to specify the anomalies, the places where the anomalies occurred” as alleged.

It said the petitioners also failed to specify where overvoting occurred and the margin of lead of who won.

According to the tribunal, they also failed to show the polling units where their votes were reduced.

The Labour Party and Obi alleged that INEC reduced their scores and added them to APC votes. But the court said the petitioners failed to supply particulars of what they actually scored before the said reductions, nor did they supply the polling units where such happened.

The petitioners did not state the lawful figures they claimed they won, the court held. 

It said they merely made general statements of irregularities and said they would rely on spreadsheets, inspection reports and forensic analysis, which were not attached to their petition.

The court held that allegations must be specific and contain particulars of material facts.

It held that the petition for overvoting was vague and therefore struck out.

While highlighting a claim by the respondents that Obi’s petition only alleged that there were widespread irregularities without giving the particulars and the polling units, Justice Mohammed held that in a presidential election held in 176,866 polling units in 774 Local Government Areas, it would be improper not to specify where there were irregularities.

According to him, the petitioners only made generic allegations.

In the case of Oyo, Ekiti, Kwara and some other states where the petitioners alleged that votes recorded for the APC exceeded the number of votes in those states, the court said the petitioners failed to prove the allegations.

As regards paragraph 79 where there were allegations of corrupt practices, the court said it should be noted that not every ground of non-compliance can be termed as corrupt practices.

It said the petitioners also failed to prove allegations of cases of massive thumbprint, and thuggery, among others.

“Those specific allegations should have been shown in the pleadings,” the court said.

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