June 25, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

Presidential Election Petitions panel gives ruling Wednesday Sept 6

By Chukwuemeka Okoro (with bureaux reports)

NIGERIANS who have been waiting with baited breath for the 2023 Presidential Election Petitions Court to make a pronouncement may now sleep easy. It has set Wednesday September 6, 2023 for judgement.

Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal (where the tribunal is domiciled by the Constitution) Umar M. Bangari says the session would be live on national television.

However, Bangari also says access into the venue shall be “strictly by accreditation” including counsel to the parties and the media. A statement he personally signed yesterday, gave the names and telephone numbers of two persons who may be contacted over the matter.

There are three matters to be pronounced on, he says: Peter Gregory Obi vs Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and 3 Ors; Allied Peoples Movement vs INEC and 4 Ors; and, Atiku Abubakar and Anor vs INEC and 2 Ors.

The matters are being heared by a panel of five, headed by Mr. Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani. The other four are justices Stephen Adah, Mistura Bolaji-Yusuf, Boloukuoromo Ugo, and Abba Bello Mohammed.

Matters for adjudication pertain to petitions challenging the result of the presidential vote that brought Bola Tinubu to power, aa president.

Victory in February for Tinubu, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is disputed by his two main opponents. Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP), who INEC said came second and third in the race, respectively.

They challenged Tinubu’s victory in court on the basis of fraud claims. The tribunal, which started hearing in June, will give its ruling on Sept 6, the registrar said, adding that the judgment will be televised.

Every election result has been contested since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, and none has been overturned by the courts, with the exception of the 2015 poll in which Goodluck Jonathan conceded victory to Muhammadu Buhari.

Tinubu, officially 71, has since been sworn in as Nigeria’s president, despite the election challenge, and has been under pressure to quickly improve economic and security conditions. He will be in India attending the G-20 Summit when the ruling is delivered.

Tinubu, a long-standing member of the ruling party, won 37 per cent of February’s vote, the lowest share since 1999.

The main opposition parties have described the outcome as fraudulent after a new technology that the electoral commission had promised would make the process more transparent malfunctioned, eroding trust.

Voter turnout was also low, even by Nigerian standards. With total votes cast at just under 25 million, out of 87 million people with voter-identity cards and eligible to vote, turnout was only 29 per cent. The previous 2019 election saw a 35 per cent turnout.

Appeal Court directs workers to stay away on Wednesday

Court of Appeal in Abuja has directed its workers to stay home on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, scheduled for judgment in the petitions challenging the election of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Chief Registrar of the Court, Oluwaleye Oluwasegun David, informed the workers in a memo on Monday, September 4, 2023. The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal is statutorily domiciled in the Appeal Court in the first instance.

According to David, only workers with tags would be allowed entry into the court premises on Wednesday – the judgement day.

The memo said the measure was taken to “create a conducive and peaceful atmosphere” for the special sitting of the Presidential Election Tribunal.

The tribunal is hearing petitions filed by Peter Obi of the Labour Party, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party, and the Allied Peoples Movement, challenging Tinubu’s victory in the February 2023 presidential election.

Read the court registrar: “In view of the above, very strong security apparatus have been arranged to man the entrance of the Court and also in all strategic areas of the court complex.

“In addition, only staff with tags provided by the management will be allow into the Court premises.”