The tribunal court while delivering its judgement on Wednesday on the presidential petitions dismissed the complaints of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
The Tribunal dismissed the petitions of the three parties contesting President Bola Tinubu’s (APC) win in the February 25, 2023 election.
The five-man panel, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, not only dismissed the aggregated petitions of the PDP, APM, and LP, but also firmly validated Tinubu’s, a former governor of Lagos State, win in the presidential election.
Justice Tsammani said, “This petition accordingly lacks merit. I affirm the return of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the duly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The parties are to bear their cost.”
Significantly, Obi and Atiku, who have previously attended Tribunal sessions, were not in court on Wednesday. Tinubu was also absent from court since he is in India for the G-20 summit.
The APM’s plea was the first to be heard by the Tribunal, followed by the LP and the PDP.
In the case of the APM, the Tribunal dismissed the action filed by the party seeking to invalidate Tinubu’s election on grounds of lack of merit and incompetence.
Justice Tsammani, who read the verdict, stated that the grounds presented by the APM in its appeal were pre-election problems that could only be resolved by the Federal High Court.
The court also sustained the respondents’ preliminary objections to the suit’s competence.
Justice Tsammani pointed out that because the case was about Tinubu’s eligibility to run for president, the APM should have gone to court within 14 days of Tinubu’s nomination by the APC.
The Tribunal dismissed the petitioners’ (PDP) claim that Tinubu has dual citizenship and hence should be excluded from voting.
The panel also threw out the testimony of some of Atiku’s witnesses since their sworn witness statements were not provided with his petition.
The court further ordered that 37 exhibits presented by the witnesses be removed from the court’s records.
On the subject of dumping documents on the court, he stated that this would just add to the weight of such evidence.
On the matter of Tinubu’s conviction and dual citizenship, the Tribunal decided, as it had before, that these issues were incompetent and liable to be dismissed, and they were.
Concerning the election officials’ incapacity to transmit, ten of the 27 witnesses brought by the petitioner were polling unit agents who testified about how the polls were conducted in their respective polling units.
All ten witnesses claimed that voting occurred smoothly and peacefully in their respective polling units, but that they were unable to upload results electronically to the INEC portal, so they entered the results manually and took them to the ward or state collation center.
The tribunal emphasized that litigation is fought on pleadings, and that parties swim or drown on their pleadings.