From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Labour Party (LP) and its candidate, Mr. Peter Obi on Wednesday tendered Local Government Areas (LGAs) result sheets obtained from 13 states to prove their petition seeking the nullification of the election of President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In all a total of 319 additional exhibits were tendered before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) by the petitioners.
The result sheets which were tendered through counsel to the petitioners, Prof. Paul Ananaba (SAN), were admitted in evidence by the court.
The exhibits included INEC certified copies of collated results of the presidential election from Local Government Areas, LGAs, in 13 states of the federation.
The states, from which the LGA collated results contained in Forms EC8C of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, were obtained, were; Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Edo, Lagos, Niger, Ondo, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Ekiti and Delta.
A breakdown of the electoral documents that were accepted in evidence by the court showed that the results from Bayelsa were from 8 LGAs; Benue from 23 LGAs; Cross River from 18 LGAs; Ebonyi from 10 LGAs; Edo from 18 LGAs, Lagos from 20 LGAs; Niger from 25 LGAs; while Ondo state was from 18 LGAs.
Besides, the petitioners tendered
the results from Oyo state were from 33 LGAs; Rivers from 23 LGAs; Sokoto from 23 LGAs; Ekiti from 16 LGAs and Delta state, from 25 LGAs.
Equally tendered in evidence before the court were results of the presidential for the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, contained in INEC’s Form EC8D, which were admitted and marked as Exhibits PBE-1 to PBE 37.
Meanwhile, the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five member panel admitted the exhibits in evidence, despite objections from all the Respondents in the matter.
Listed as 1st to 4th Respondents in the petition, are; the INEC, the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, the Vice-President-elect, Kashim Shettima, and the All Progressives Congress, APC.
All the Respondents said they would advance reasons for their objections, in the final written address they would file before the court.
However, the Respondents did not oppose the admissibility of a document containing the final result of the election as was announced by the INEC.
The document, which was INEC’s Form EC8D (A), was entered in evidence as Exhibit PBF.
Obi’s legal team had earlier in the proceedings on Wednesday, also tendered in evidence, remnants of ward level results from 12 LGAs in Ebonyi, 4 LGAs in Kaduna, 4 LGAs in Oyo and 1 LGA in Nasarawa state.
The petitioners said they would further adduce more exhibits when the court resumes sitting on Thursday.
Obi who came third in the election had approached the court to challenge the declaration of President Tinubu of the APC as winner of the presidential contest.
In their joint petition, the petitioner’s, maintained that President Tinubu was not the valid winner of the election.
The petitioners, in their case marked: CA/PEPC/03/2023, equally contended that President Tinubu was not qualified to participate in the presidential poll.
According to the petitioners, as at the time Tinubu’s running mate, Shettima, became the Vice Presidential candidate, he was still the nominated candidate of the APC for the Borno Central Senatorial election.
The petitioners further challenged Tinubu’s eligibility to contest the presidential election, alleging that he was previously indicted and fined the sum of $460,000.00 by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Case No: 93C 4483, for an offence involving dishonesty and drug trafficking.
On the ground that the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices and non- compliance with the provision of Electoral Act, 2022, the petitioners argued that INEC acted in breach of its own Regulations and Guidelines.
The Petitioners argued that the electoral body was in the course of the conduct of the presidential poll, mandatorily required to prescribe and deploy technological devices for the accreditation, verification, continuation and authentication of voters and their particulars as contained in its Regulations.
They are, therefore, praying the court to among other things, declare that all the votes recorded for Tinubu and the APC, were wasted votes owing to his non-qualification/disqualification.
“That it be determined that on the basis of the remaining votes (after discountenancing the votes credited to the 2nd Respondent) the 1st Petitioner (Obi) scored a majority of the lawful votes cast at the election and had not less than 25% of the votes cast in at least 2/3 of the States of the Federation, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and satisfied the constitutional requirements to be declared the winner of the 25th February 2023 presidential election.
“That it be determined that the 2nd Respondent having failed to score one-quarter of the votes cast at the presidential election in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, was not entitled to be declared and returned as the winner of the presidential election held on 25th February, 2023.
In the alternative, the petitioners, want an order cancelling the election and compelling INEC to conduct a fresh election at which Tinubu, Shettima and the APC, listed as 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents, respectively, shall not participate.
They urged the court to declare that since Tinubu was not duly elected by a majority of the lawful votes cast in the election, therefore, his return as the winner of the presidential election, was unlawful, unconstitutional and of no effect whatsoever.
In a further alternative prayer, the petitioners want the court to hold that the presidential election was void on the ground that it was not conducted substantially in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, and the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
They also applied for an order, “cancelling the presidential election conducted on 25th February 2023 and mandating the 1st Respondent to conduct a fresh election for the President, the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.