The 2023 Presidential Election in Nigeria has concluded with the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) declaring President Bola Tinubu as the winner. This article delves into the details of this historic verdict and its implications.
The PEPC Verdict
In a marathon session lasting over 12 hours, Justice Haruna Tasmani delivered the verdict that dismissed the petitions of Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Alhaji Abubakar Atiku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The heart of their joint petition was allegations of irregularities, corrupt practices, and substantial non-compliance with electoral laws.
However, StechiteGist media gathered that the court found that the petitioners failed to provide substantial evidence to support their claims. While they alleged various irregularities, they could not present concrete proof of these allegations, a crucial factor in election disputes.
The Issue of Electronic Transmission of Results
One significant aspect of the case was the electronic transmission of results, a point of contention in many modern elections. The tribunal reiterated that the Electoral Act did not make provisions for electronic transmission of election results. They also stated that IReV (Innovative Results Verification) was not part of the official collation process.
Atiku and the PDP also raised concerns about Tinubu’s qualification to participate in the election, citing alleged offenses related to dual citizenship, forgery, and a forfeiture of $460,000 in the United States. However, the court held that the petitioners did not provide sufficient evidence to substantiate these claims.
The tribunal noted that Atiku had called only 27 witnesses to support his allegations of irregularities and corrupt practices. This number was deemed inadequate considering the vast number of polling units across the country where elections took place. The witnesses called were primarily collation agents, and their evidence was considered “hearsay” by the court.
The court also pointed out several shortcomings in the petitions. Atiku and the PDP failed to name specific locations where ballot boxes were allegedly snatched, the ways in which BVAS machines were manipulated, and the names of polling booths where malpractices were said to have occurred. This lack of specific details weakened their case.
Disqualification Based on US Conviction
The issue of Tinubu’s $460,000 forfeiture in the United States was a significant point of contention. The court ruled that this was a civil forfeiture proceeding and did not qualify as a disqualifying offense for electoral purposes. Furthermore, they highlighted that the petitioners failed to prove their case regarding this issue.
The Allied Peoples Movement (APM) also filed a petition against Tinubu’s election, which the court deemed incompetent. The APM’s claims primarily pertained to pre-election matters, which should have been addressed in the Federal High Court.
Reactions to the Verdict
President Muhammadu Buhari welcomed the verdict, stating that it upheld the choices made by the majority of citizens during the election. He called for unity and support for the new administration.
The APC, represented by its national chairman, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, commended the court’s validation of Tinubu’s victory and urged opposition parties to accept the outcome.
In contrast, the Labour Party (LP) rejected the judgment, expressing dissatisfaction with the court’s decision. The LP had hoped for a different outcome, believing they had won more states than officially declared by INEC.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) also rejected the verdict, citing reasons such as alleged violations of relevant electoral laws and the constitution.
SDP Presidential Candidate’s Call for Congratulation
Prince Adewole Adebayo, the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), urged Atiku and Peter Obi to congratulate President Tinubu. He described the judgment as sound in fact and law, emphasizing that they could contest the election again in 2027.
Calls for Unity and Acceptance of Verdict
Amid the mixed reactions, various leaders and groups have called for unity and the acceptance of the tribunal’s verdict. They stress the importance of respecting the rule of law and working together for the progress and development of Nigeria.
The 2023 Presidential Election in Nigeria has come to a close with the PEPC affirming President Bola Tinubu’s victory. While some parties have expressed dissatisfaction with the verdict, it is crucial for the nation to uphold the rule of law, respect the judiciary’s decision, and focus on unity and progress for the future. This landmark judgment marks a significant moment in Nigeria’s democratic history.
- What was the main reason for dismissing the petitions against President Tinubu’s election? The main reason for dismissing the petitions was the petitioners’ failure to provide substantial evidence to support their claims of irregularities, corrupt practices, and non-compliance with electoral laws.
- Why did the tribunal consider the electronic transmission of results issue significant? The tribunal considered the issue significant because it is a point of contention in modern elections. They clarified that the Electoral Act did not provide for electronic transmission of results.
- What were the key shortcomings in Atiku and the PDP’s petitions? The key shortcomings included the failure to specify locations of alleged malpractices, details of how BVAS machines were manipulated, and the names of polling booths where malpractices occurred.
- Why was the APM’s petition deemed incompetent? The APM’s petition was deemed incompetent because it primarily addressed pre-election matters, which should have been brought before the Federal High Court.
- What message do leaders and groups emphasize in response to the verdict? Leaders and groups emphasize the importance of unity, acceptance of the verdict, and respecting the rule of law for the progress and development of Nigeria.