By Edward C.E
In their quest to nullify the election of President Bola Tinubu, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his counterpart in the Labour Party, LP, Mr Peter Obi, on Tuesday, filed separate appeals before the Supreme Court.
The duo, in their appeals, prayed the apex court to set aside the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, which affirmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as the valid winner of the presidential election held on February 25.
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, on his part has appealed against the tribunal judgement which upheld the victory of President Bola Tinubu.
Obi in a 50 grounds notice of appeal by his lead counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, challenged the decision of the presidential election tribunal.
The notice of appeal partly read, “Take notice that the Appellants being dissatisfied with the decisions in PETITION NO: CA/PEPC/03/2023 MR. PETER GREGORY OBI & ANOR. v. INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION & ORS. (consolidated with Election Petition Nos: CA/PEPC/04/2023 and CA/PEPC/05/2023), contained in pages 3-327 of the Judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting as the Presidential Election Petition Court, Holden at Abuja, Coram: H. S. Tsammani, Stephen Jonah Adah, Misitura Omodere Bolaji-Yusuff, Boloukuroma Moses Ugo and Abba Bello Mohammed, JJ.C.A. (“the Court below”) delivered on the 6th day of September 2023, and more particularly stated in paragraph 2 of this Notice of Appeal, do hereby appeal to the Supreme Court on the Grounds set out in Paragraph 3 and will at the hearing of the appeal seek the Reliefs sought in paragraph 4 herein.”
Similarly, Atiku, through his consortium of 67 lawyers that comprised 18 Senior Advocates of Nigeria led by Chief Chris Uche, SAN, filed 35 grounds of appeal to challenge Tinubu’s election victory, Obi, through his own team of lawyers let by Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, filed 51 grounds of appeal before the Supreme Court.
Specifically, Atiku, in his appeal, maintained that the verdict of the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel of the Court of Appeal, which had on September 6, dismissed his petition against the outcome of the presidential election, was not only “against the weight of evidence”, but ocassioned a grave miscarriage of justice against him.
The former Vice President insisted that the PEPC panel erred in law, when it failed to nullify the presidential election on the grounds of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022, even when evidence that was adduced before it, showed that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, acted in breach of extant laws and regulations guiding the conduct of elections.
He accused the PEPC of reaching its unanimous decision based on gross misconstruction and misrepresentation of provisions of both the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and the Electoral Act, 2022.
According to him, “the lower court erred in law when it refused to uphold the mandatoriness of electronic transmission of results for confirmation and verification of final results introduced by the Electoral Act 2022 for transparency and integrity of results in accordance with the principles of the Act.”
He argued that section 64(4) & (5) of the Electoral Act, as well as INEC’s Regulations & Guidelines for the conduct of the election, which he tendered in evidence, made mandatory, the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, machines for electronic transmission of results of the election directly from the polling units to INEC’s collation system for the verification, confirmation and collation of results before announcement.