It was a matter of great suspense throughout the duration of the case. Now, All Progressives Congress members can go home to sleep soundly. Why? The Presidential Election Petition Court threw the case filed by Labour Party’s candidate, Peter Gregory Obi against the victory of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu into the trash can.
Justice Haruna Tsammani said Obi’s case “lacked material facts and unmeritorious”, saying that 10 of the 13 witnesses who gave evidence “were rejected for not being frontloaded with the petition, thus violating section 285 of the Nigerian constitution, section 137(7) of the Electoral Act 2022.” In other words, all evidence accompanying a petition must by law be filed within 21 days. Obi’s men failed to do that; a terrible error!
He added that by virtue of “section 285 of the Nigerian constitution, section 137(7) of the Electoral Act 2022, and other provisions, every witness statement on oath must be filed along with the petition.” Based on some precedents at the Supreme Court, Tsammani said, “once the 21 days window for filing an election petition lapses, the content of the petition cannot be amended.”
Worse still, reports of forensic analyses tendered by Obi’s three witnesses were thrown out of the window “for either being made during the pendency of the case or made by an interested party who would benefit from the outcome of the petitions.”
Not only that, the court rejected the European Union report on the 25 February presidential election on the grounds that they “were not tendered by an official of the body which is the author and has the custody of the document.”
All the issues raised by Labour Party’s Peter to disqualify Tinubu and Shettima and nullify their election were thrown to the scrap heap by the court.