Tribunal Dismisses LP’s Petition Against Tinubu Says It  Lacks Merit

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The Presidential Election Petition Court has dismissed the Petition of the Labour Party and Its Presidential Candidate Mr Peter Obi against the election of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and that of Vice President Kashim Shettima.

In the lead judgment delivered by Haruna Tshamani, the Court held that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of over voting, ineligibility to participate and Scoring the highest number of lawful votes cast in their petition.

Other issues decided by the Court against the Petitioners are the allegation of Drug trafficking and Criminal forfeiture of funds by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The Court also held that there is no evidence of Criminal behaviour, arrest or conviction against the President as alleged by the petitioners.

On the issue of the 25% Votes in the FCT, the Court held that the votes in the Capital does not carry more weight neither are they more important than votes in other parts of the Country.

The Court held that “The list of petitioners’ witness statements was filed and not front-loaded.

At the close of the pleading, the parties had submitted the list of witnesses, the petitioner submitted the list of subpoenaed witnesses outside the time prescribed by law.

In line with section 285 of the 1st schedule of the Constitution, the list of witnesses and along with their depositions needs to be filed alongside the petition.

The law stipulates that election petition should be filed within 21 days after the election.

The petitioner can not rely on paragraph 1(1) of the practice directive of the federal high court to file a list of additional witnesses.

Court strikes out witness statement made by 10 out of 13 witnesses called by the Labour Party.

The statements of the 10 witnesses are incompetent.

The court held that the list of subpoenaed witnesses having been filed outside the provisions of section 285 of the constitution and paragraph 4(1) of the schedule to the electoral act are struck out.

The claim by the Labour Party concerning the blurred 18,088 results sheets is unfounded as the party ought to have agents at every polling unit who will have a copy of the result sheet.

The allegations made by the Labour Party that President Tinubu was not qualified to contest the presidential election in view of the $460,000 fine he paid in relation to narcotics charges in the United state, the court held that trial and conviction by a court is the only way to prove guilt.

The case was a civil forfeiture case as it is a unique remedy which rests on the property being the target and not the person.

The case was in the civil docket of the United state north district court Illinois.

Section 249 of the Evidence Act provides that a previous conviction may be proved if a copy containing the charge, the evidence and the fingerprint of the alleged crime is signed by a police officer from the country where the crime was alleged to have been committed.

The petitioners who have made the allegations needed to prove the allegations on the strength of their case and not on the weakness of the respondent.

To prove a case of dishonesty on the part of the president, the petitioner needed to have proven that the election was conducted within 10 years when the alleged crime was committed

The court adopted its position held in the APM’s petition concerning the alleged double nomination of the vice president leading to the non-qualification of President Tinubu as alleged by the Labour Party.

INEC is at liberty to prescribe the manner which election results should be collated

INEC is not mandate to electronically transmit or transfer election results

Labour Party forum shopped a judgment from the lagos state court seeking to compile INEC to electronically transmit election results after the federal high court had already decided on the case.

Both courts held that INEC is at liberty to determine how it would transmit results.

These judgment has not been challenged.

There was nothing to show that the BVAS was to be used to transmit results to the IREV portal.

The IREV portal is not a collation system’.

‘The glitches experienced during the upload of the results to the IREV portal was not a ploy to temper or manipulate the results as alleged by the petitioner.
The petitioner failed to prove that it was a case of manipulation by INEC’.

‘The glitches are not grounds to challenge the outcome of an election in view of section 134(1)b of the electoral act’.

The court held that the evidence of the 3 remaining witnesses had no probative value.

The petitioners star witness made reference to a report that was not in existence went he testified.
The petitioners failed to prove the case of corrupt practices which they alleged.

The petitioner’s allegation of over was not proved having failed to produce the figures and the affected polling units’.

‘The 4,440 polling unit claimed by the petitioner to have been affected by overvoting, only an oral evidence given by a subpoenaed witness was tendered which is not admissible
On the Issue of the 25% of Votes in the FCT the Court holds that

‘In the interpretation of the Constitution as a guiding principle all sections must be read together.
The petitioners interpretation of Section 134(2)b of the constitution is fallacious.
A broad and liberal interpretation should prevail in the interpretation of the constitution’.

‘The constitution must be construed in a way to protect what is the meant to protect.

‘Every constitution have a life and moving spirit as captured in the preamble’.
‘In interpretation of Section 212 (1)a of the constitution the court is guided by principles of what it means

‘Every citizen must have equality of rights as provided by the constitution’.

‘The futility of the petitioner to pursue that the votes of FCT are the deciding vote is rendered bare’.

‘The word “AND FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY ” does not imply the meaning the petitioner is alluding to it’.

‘The FCT has no special status, it should be treated like every other state in the country’.
‘Securing one-quarter of two-third majority of lawful votes in the FCT is not mandatory for the presidential election

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