NIGERIA: President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR has opened up while welcoming the Tribunal verdict declared in Abuja Nigeria earlier Wednesday 6-09-2023.
The President further called for collective efforts to build the nation to the benefit of it’s citizenry.
However, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has assured Nigerians of his renewed and energized focus on delivering his vision of a unified, peaceful and prosperous nation, following the judgment by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja.
Tinubu welcomes the judgment of the Tribubal with an intense sense of solemn responsibility and preparedness to serve all Nigerians, irrespective of all diverse political persuasions, faiths, and tribal identities.
The President recognizes the diligence, undaunted thoroughness, and professionalism of the five-member bench, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani in interpreting the law.
The President affirms that his commitment to the rule of law, and the unhindered discharge of duties by the Tribunal, as witnessed in the panel’s exclusive respect for the merits of the petitions brought forward, further reflects the continuing maturation of Nigeria’s legal system, and the advancement of Africa’s largest democracy at a time when our democratic system of government is under test in other parts of the continent.
The President believes the Presidential Candidates and Political Parties that have lawfully exercised their rights by participating in the 2023 general elections and the judicial process, which followed, have affirmed Nigeria’s democratic credentials.
The President urges his valiant challengers to inspire their supporters in the trust that the spirit of patriotism will now and forever be elevated above partisan considerations, manifesting into support for our Government to improve the livelihood of all Nigerians.
The President has thanked Nigerians for the mandate given to him to serve the country while promising to meet and exceed their expectations, by the grace of God Almighty, and through very diligent hard work with the team that has been put in place for that sole purpose.
However, the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja, has earlier Wednesday dismissed the allegation by the Labour Party, LP, and its candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, that the 2023 presidential election was rigged in favour of President Bola Tinubu.
The court, in its preliminary ruling that was delivered by Justice Abba Mohammed, held that Obi and the the LP, did not by way of credible evidence, establish their allegation that the election that held on February 25, was characterized by manifest corrupt practices.
It held that though the Petitioners alleged that the election was marred by irregularities, they, however, failed to give specific details of where the alleged infractions took place.
The court noted that whereas Obi and the LP, insisted that the election was rigged in 18, 088 polling units across the federation, they were unable to state the locations of the said polling units.
It further held that Obi’s allegation that fictitious results were recorded to President Tinubu and the APC, by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was not proved.
More so, it held that the Petitioners were unable to state the figures they claimed were reduced from election results they garnered in different states of the federation, especially in Ondo, Oyo, Rivers, Yobe, Borno, Tabara, Osun and Lagos state.
It held that the Petitioners equally failed to state the polling units where over-voting occured or the exact figures of unlawful votes that were credited to Tinubu by the INEC .
It stressed that though Obi and LP said they would rely on spreadsheets as well as forensic report and expert analysis of their expert witnesses, they failed to attach the documents to the petition or serve same on the Respondents as required by the law.
The court held that though the petition contained serious allegations that bordered on violence, non-voting, suppression of votes, fictitious entry of election results and corrupt practices, the Petitioners, however, failed to give particulars of specific polling units where the incidences took place.
It held that several portions of the petition that contained the allegations, were “vague, imprecise, nebulous and bereft of particular materials.”
Therefore, the court, struck out paragraphs 9, 60, 61, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 76, 77, 78, 83 and 89 of the petition.
Nevertheless, the court dismissed the contention of the Respondents that Obi was not validly nominated by the LP to contest the presidential election.
It noted that the Respondents had argued that Obi left the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on May 24, 2022 and joined the LP on May 27, 2022.
The Respondents argued that as at May 30, 2022, Obi, was not a valid member of the LP and could not have duly participated in its presidential primary election.
They insisted that his name could not have been contained in the membership register of the LP, which ought to be submitted to INEC, 30 days before the primary election held.
However, the court, in its ruling, held that the issue of membership is an internal affair of a political party, which is not justiceable.
It held that only the LP has the prerogative of determining who is its member, adding that the Respondents were bereft of the legal to query Obi’s membership of the LP.
Likewise, the court, held that contrary to contention by Tinubu and the APC, the Petitioners, were not under any obligation to join Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who came second in the election or his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the case.
It held that both Atiku and PDP are not statutory Respondents or necessary parties to the petition.
Having decided the preliminary issues, Chairman of the five-member panel, Justice Haruna Tsammani, read the judgement of the court on the substantive matter, declaring Bola Ahmed Tinubu of All Progressives Congress APC the winner of the February 25 presidential election 2023.
President Tinubu GCFR has accepted the tribunal Judgement and thanked NIGERIANs.
-Princely Onyenwe reporting