ABUJA – The Supreme Court is still deciding on the appeal made by Mr. Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party, to challenge the results of the presidential election that took place on February 25th.
A group of seven judges from the highest court, led by Justice Inyang Okoro, approved the case for a decision after all the parties presented their arguments. Obi and the LP, along with their lawyers led by Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, asked the court to support their appeal and overturn the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, which rejected their petition.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), President Bola Tinubu, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have asked the court to reject the appeal because they believe it lacks merit.
The group said it would let everyone know when they would announce their decision.Obi, who got third place in the election, argued in his 51 reasons for appeal that the PEPC panel made a legal mistake and came to the wrong decision when they rejected his petition.
He claimed that the panel made a mistake in assessing the evidence he presented and caused a serious injustice when they concluded that he did not specify the polling units where irregularities happened during the election. Obi and the LP also criticised the PEPC for rejecting their case because they didn’t provide specific numbers of votes or scores that were supposedly manipulated in favour of President Tinubu and the APC.
They said that the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led PEPC panel made a mistake in the law when it used paragraph 4(1) (d) (2) and 54 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act 2022 to remove parts of the petition. Obi claimed that the lower court violated his right to a fair trial by disregarding the testimony of his witnesses, which he believed was unfairly deemed unreliable.
He said to the highest court that the committee unfairly rejected his claim that INEC uploaded 18,088 unclear results on its IReV website. Additionally, Obi claimed that the lower court did not consider his argument about certified true copies of documents that INEC gave to his legal team.
These documents included 8,123 blurry results that had blank A4 papers, pictures, and images of people that were not identified. These documents were presented as the certified true copies of the polling units’ results for the presidential election. “
The smart judges of the lower court made a mistake in the law and caused a mistake in justice when they said that he didn’t prove the accusation of corrupt practises and over-voting,” Obi said.
He said the lower court made a mistake by using the legal principle of estoppel to reject his argument that INEC broke its own rules when it didn’t electronically send election results from polling units to the IReV.
The people who started the petition showed believable and strong evidence, both spoken and written, that proved the Respondents didn’t follow the Electoral Act 2022 properly during the election.
The Appellants said that the lower court didn’t consider that the Respondents didn’t prove that they didn’t follow the rules, as shown by the evidence presented by the petitioners. The Appellants also said that the panel wrongly ignored the issue of double nomination that was raised against Tinubu’s Vice President, Kashim Shettima.
Similarly, Obi argued that the PEPC failed to consider evidence that showed President Tinubu had been previously accused and fined $460,000 in the USA for his involvement in a drug-related situation. In his appeal, Obi argued that imposing a fine is not only limited to criminal convictions, but also includes civil forfeitures in the legal context.