Nigerians from all walks of life are waiting eagerly to witness the televised live proceedings from the Tribunal venue at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) are challenging President Bola Tinubu’s declaration as the winner of the 2023 presidential election.
Thank you for following our live updates of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT)’s judgement.
09:09pm. The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal Affirms Tinubu’s Win
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”.
08:51 pm: Issue four is on whether INEC was right to return the second respondent, Tinubu as duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast.
The tribunal held that the petitioner has not successfully proved the allegations on this ground and indeed all the grounds in their petition.
07:11 pm: Justice Adah has handed over the reading of the judgement to the head of the panel – Justice Tsammani – who is now dealing with the substantive petition.
07:03 pm: Court Strikes Out Atiku’s Dual Citizen Petition Against Tinubu
On the issue of dumping of documents on the court, he held that this would only go to the weight to be attached to such evidence.
On the issue of Tinubu’s conviction and the issue of his dual citizenship, the Tribunal again held like it earlier did that these issues were incompetent and liable to be struck out and same were indeed struck out.
After this, Justice Adah hands over to Justice Tsammani who then proceeds to deal with the main petition. The court spells out four grounds for determination.
On the inability of the election officers to transmit, of the 27 witnesses called by the petitioner, 10 were polling unit agents who testified as to how the elections were conducted in their different polling units.
All 10 of the witnesses testified that the voting went well and was peaceful in their different polling units but they all said they could not upload results electronically to the INEC IREV, so they entered the results manually and took the same to the ward & or state collation centre.
The witnesses were emphatic that voting went well, party agents signed the results but the only difficulty was in uploading the results electronically.
6:37 pm: Justice Adah rejected Atiku’s 15 witnesses, saying their statements on oath were not filed along with the petition.
He also rejected 37 exhibits they tendered.
5:27 pm Justice Ugo begins to highlight faults in Atiku’s petition, saying it is filed with generic allegations.
According to him, the petition did not list polling units where election malpractices happened.
05:04 pm The court starts judgement on Atiku’s petition
One of the five-man panel Justice Moses Ugo is reading the judgement in Atiku’s case against President Bola Tinubu.
05:52 pm: Tribunal Strikes Out LP’s Petition Against Tinubu’s Win
The Tribunal struck out the Labour Party’s petitions against Tinubu’s win in the presidential election for lack of merit.
04:37 pm: The petitioners have failed to establish their allegations of overvoting and voter suppression, the court ruled.
4:03 pm: The court is highlighting issues of corruption which Obi claimed were recorded in the elections. They include vote suppression, inflation of results, and over-voting.
But Just Tsammani said some paragraphs relating to these claims have been struck out earlier due to their vague and generic nature.
3:41 pm: The PEPT ruled that Obi failed to establish that INEC intentionally refused to quickly upload polling unit results to IReV so as to alter the results in Tinubu’s favour.
“The petitioner made the allegation of non-compliance a substantial part of their case. By the provisions of Section 135(2) of the Electoral Act, they are required to show how such noncompliance substantially affected them. If they fail to show the same, the petition fails,” the court ruled.
3:12 pm: According to the PEPT, INEC regulations and the Electoral Act give room for manual collation of results. It said electronic transmission is optional at best.
3:08 pm: The court added that the only device that must be used by INEC for elections is the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS)
It noted that there’s no regulation showing BVAS must be used to electronically transmit results from polling units.
02: 41 pm: INEC At Liberty To Define Mode Of Transmitting Election Results – Court
On the issue of substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the law, especially with regard to non-transmission of result sheets to INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), the court holds that there is no law that says INEC must transfer or transmit the results of the election from the polling units electronically.
The law simply empowers INEC to decide the means of collation of results of elections, the court argued.
02: 26 pm: Obi, LP Failed To Prove Tinubu Was Convicted In US, Tribunal Rules
The Presidential Election Petitions Court on Wednesday ruled that the Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, failed to prove that President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was convicted for money laundering in the United States.
The five-man panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani ruled that no record of criminal arrest or conviction was established against Tinubu by the petitioners – Obi and the LP.
02:12 pm: Tribunal dismisses LP/Obi’s Petition on 25 per cent needed to win the presidential election.
According to the court, FCT residents have no special privileges as the petitioners claimed.
1:28 pm: The court has rejected the reports of forensic analyses tendered by LP’s three witnesses. According to the court, they are either made during the pendency of the case or by an interested party.
This is as it rejected the European Union report on the polls, arguing that it was not tendered by an official of the body.
12:31 pm: Tribunal Declares APC’s Petition On Obi’s Membership Incompetent
The Court also declared APC’s petition challenging Obi’s membership of the LP as incompetent. Justice Abba says membership in a political party is an internal affair.
The Tribunal also touched on the issue of non-joinder of Atiku Abubakar who came second and wondered how Obi & LP’s petition could be effectively determined without joining the candidate who placed second in the polls
While highlighting a claim by the respondents that Obi’s petition only alleged that there were widespread irregularities without giving the particulars and the polling units.
Justice Abba Mohammed holds that In a presidential election held in 176,866 polling units in 774 Local Government Areas, it would be improper not to specify where there were irregularities.
According to him, the petitioners only made generic allegations.
“Pleading must set out material facts and particulars. In the instant petition, there was no effort to prove specific allegations, particulars of complaints,” said the Tribunal.
The law is clear that where someone alleges irregularities in a particular polling unit, such person must prove the particular irregularities in that polling unit before that petition can succeed, the Tribunal added.
The court said the petitioners did not prove the particular polling unit where the election did not take place nor did they specify particulars of polling units where there are alleged complainants of irregularities.
“It was only in one instance that figures were given of alleged suppressed votes and we all know that elections are about figures,” it said.
“LP alleged that INEC reduced their scores and added it to APC votes but failed to supply particulars of what they actually scored before the said reductions, neither did they supply the polling units where it happened….”
11:50 am: A member of the panel of justices, Abba Mohammed, is reading the ruling on the preliminary objections filed by the respondents against Peter Obi’s petition.
11:47 am: The Court has reconvened to take the Judgement of the Labour Party. The judgement is read by Justice Abba Mohammed. He is reading the preambles reliefs and prayers sought.
11:26 am: The Presidential Election Petitions Court has gone on a 15-minute break.
11:05 am: Court Strikes Out APM’s Suit Against Shettima, Tinubu
The Allied Peoples Movement (APM) is arguing that Vice President Kashim Shettima was not qualified as Tinubu’s running mate as his nomination breached Section 35 of the Electoral Act 2022 and other constitutional provisions.
But for the Preliminary Objection, the court held that the petitioner (APM), ought to have filed the case (of double nomination) before the Federal High Court within 14 days from the day the cause of action arose.
The court agreed with the respondent, that the issue is statue barred.
Justice Tsammani who is reading the lead judgement, further added that section 285(14c), does not allow members of a political party to challenge the nomination of candidates of another political party.
He concluded that the petitioner lacks the locus standi to institute the petition. He therefore struck out the suit for lack of merit
09:28 am: The court has already started sitting ahead of the verdict.
09:21 am: Judges have started arriving at the court.
09:03 am: Vice President Kashim Shettima and other governors have also arrived at the premises.
APC governors here include those of Kogi, Nassarawa, Imo, Ekiti, Yobe Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state is also present among other PDP chieftains.
Others include the Chief of staff to the President, National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribudu, and Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo.
The Labour Party Chairman, Julius Abure, and Aisha Yesufu are also present.
08:47 am: Chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC), and the Labour Party (LP), are arriving at the PEPT venue.
07:27 am: Security has been beefed up ahead of the PEPT verdict. Security operatives have been strategically positioned around the venue to forestall any breakdown of law.
Following more than three centuries under Portuguese rule, Brazil gained its independence in 1822, maintaining a monarchical system of government until the abolition of slavery in 1888 and the subsequent proclamation of a republic by the military in 1889.
THE die is cast and the stage is set. After five months of legal fisticuffs, the Presidential Election Petition Court (Tribunal) will decide the fate of President Bola Tinubu, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and former Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, today.
The trio were the leading presidential candidates in the February 25, 2023 presidential poll. While Tinubu, who was declared winner by the Independent National Commission, INEC ran on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC; Atiku contested on the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; and Obi flew the flag of the Labour Party, LP.
Atiku, Obi, PDP and LP separately want the court to nullify Tinubu’s election, award the victory to Atiku or Atiku, and disqualify Tinubu in the event of ordering a re-run
There is also a third petition lodged against President Tinubu by the Allied Peoples Movement, APM.
Specifically, APM contended that the withdrawal of Mr. Masari, who was initially nominated as the Vice-Presidential candidate of the APC, invalidated Tinubu’s candidacy in view of Section 131(c) and 142 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Countering the petitioners, Tinubu, APC, and INEC urged the court to dismiss the petitions of the petitioners and affirm Tinubu’s election.
7 options before the court
As it is, there are seven options before the court, namely:
•Affirm Tinubu’s election on the ground that infractions observed during the polls were not enough to invalidate the outcome
•Disqualify Tinubu, nullify his election and declare Atiku as winner
•Annul Tinubu’s election and declare Obi as winner
•Cancel the elections and order a fresh poll among the 18 candidates
•Cancel the elections and order a re-run between the best two
•Order a re-run between Tinubu and Atiku
•Order a re-run between Atiku and Obi Five justices who’ll decide Tinubu’s, Atiku’s, Obi’s fate
The four men and one woman, who will take one of the above options are
Justice Haruna Tsammani, Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal and head of the panel; Justice Stephen Adah, Court of Appeal (Asaba division); Justice Monsurat Bolaji-Yusuf, Court of Appeal (Asaba Division); Justice Moses Ugo, Kano division; and Justice Abba Mohammed, Ibadan Court of Appeal.
Born on November 23, 1959, Justice Tsammani hails from Tafawa Balewa LGA of Bauchi State. He obtained his LL.B degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1982, attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos for his BL in 1983, and started as a High Court judge in Bauchi State on September 17, 1998.
Tsammmani, who was later elevated to the Court of Appeal on July 16, 2010, is the longest-serving Justice of the Court of Appeal among the five members of the panel. He has spent half of his 24 years as a judge on the Court of Appeal bench.
He delivered one of the judgments of the Court of Appeal in Abuja that affirmed the second term election of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
He also delivered the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja that issued the order restraining Rivers and Lagos state governments from taking action on their bids to collect Value Added Tax (VAT).
Justice Tsammani prepared the lead judgment that dismissed Abiola Ajimobi’s petition challenging the judgment of the 2019 Election Petition Tribunal, which had on November 19, 2019, upheld PDP’s Kola Balogun as the winner of the senatorial election for Oyo South for lacking in merit. He ruled that a person who was not a member of a political party has no right to challenge the outcome of its primary election.
In February 2022, Tsammani gave the lead judgment of the court that handed the control of APC in Kano State back to the immediate past governor, Abdullahi Ganduje,.
In October 2021, he led the three-member panel of the court that dismissed the suit by the suspended National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, to stop the party from holding its national convention. Justice Tsammani also led the panel of the court that gave the October 2022 judgment suspending the release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, from custody after the charges against the secessionist were dismissed in an earlier judgment of the court.
Born on June 13, 1957, Justice Stephen Adah, who hails from Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State, is the presiding Justice of the Asaba Division of the Court of Appeal.
He obtained his LL.B degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1981 and attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, for his BL in 1982.
He was appointed a judge of the Federal High Court on November 12, 1998, and later elevated to the Court of Appeal on November 5, 2012. He was a member of the three-man panel that granted Obi and Atiku’s motions to serve Tinubu their petitions by substituted means.
One of his landmark decisions was in the appeal filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in 2020 against a trial court’s decision which partially upheld the no-case submission filed by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin, Robert Azibaola.
He led the panel that affirmed Ifeanyi Ubah as a Senator after his sack over alleged certificate forgery. He also led the panel that affirmed Valentine Ozigbo as the PDP governorship candidate for the Anambra State Governorship election.
Born on August 7, 1959 , Justice Bolaji-Yusuf, who hails from Oyo West LGA of Oyo State is the only female member of the five-man panel of the court. She obtained her LL.B degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 1983. She attended the Nigerian Law School the following year for her BL certificate.
She was appointed a Judge of the High Court of Oyo State on January 30, 1997, and later elevated to the Court of Appeal on March 24, 2014.
In the controversial impeachment of former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, Justice Bolaji-Yusuf issued an order that invalidated the steps taken by the then-acting Chief Judge of Oyo, Justice Afolabi Adeniran, which led to the illegal removal of Ladoja.
Her verdict was the first major blow to the entire impeachment process that the Supreme Court later nullified and reinstated Ladoja as Oyo governor on November 11, 2006.
She also delivered the lead judgment of the three-man panel of the Benin Division of the Court of Appeal that affirmed the first-term election of Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki in June 2017. She was on the panel that affirmed that candidates of the Obaseki-faction were the authentic candidates to participate in the 2023 elections.
At 57, Justice Boloukuoromo Ugo, who hails from Kolokuma/Opokua Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, is the youngest member of the panel. He obtained his LL.B degree from the University of Calabar in 1989, and proceeded to the Nigerian Law School in Lagos the following year, for his BL certificate. He was appointed a Judge of the High Court of Bayelsa State on March 21, 2006, and later elevated to the Court of Appeal on March 24, 2011
Born on February 19, 1961, Justice Abba Mohammed hails from Kano State. He
obtained his LL.B degree from the Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1984, and proceeded to the Nigerian Law School in Lagos for his BL Certificate in 1985.
He was appointed a judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in 2010.
After serving for about 10 years, he was promoted to the Court of Appeal on June 28, 2021. He was the Chairman of the Nasarawa State Governorship Election Tribunal in 2019.
The PDP governorship candidate in the 2019 general election, David Ombugadu had sued INEC and Governor Abdullahi Sule of the APC. Justice Mohammed dismissed the petition for lacking in merit, and ruled that the petitioner’s allegation of over-voting and electoral violence could not be substantiated.
1968 Swaziland Gains Independence From the British
The Southern African state became a British protectorate in 1902 after the Anglo-Boer war. King Sobhuza became the head of the nation in and reigned even after independence until 1982. He was succeeded by Mswati III, his son, who currently rules the country.