Sunday, July 16, 2023


On Friday, the legal team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, representing Tinubu and Shettima, filed their Final addresses before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC). They urged the court to dismiss the claims made by the PDP, the LP, and their presidential candidates, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi. These claims stated that a candidate must score 25 percent of votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to be declared president. Tinubu and Shettima argued that both sets of petitions lacked relevant evidence to support the plaintiffs' contentions that the election did not comply with the applicable laws or that the APC's presidential and vice-presidential candidates were ineligible to contest.

According to the defendants, the suits were not even considered valid petitions under the nation's electoral laws. The reason being that they strangely failed to address issues such as election rigging, ballot box snatching, violence, vote buying, and other electoral malpractices. Instead, the focus of the petitions was on some unidentified results and Tinubu's alleged failure to obtain 25 percent of the votes in the FCT, without providing any supporting evidence.

Tinubu claimed to have won the election with 8,794,726 votes, while Atiku/PDP trailed behind with 6,984,520 votes, and Obi/LP came in third with 6,101,533 votes.

The core of their argument was related to the interpretation of Section 134(2)(b) of the Constitution. The defendants asserted that the section should be read conjunctively, treating the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as the 37th state, as specified in Section 299 of the Constitution. They warned that any other interpretation would lead to absurdity and chaos.

During the trial, the petitioners failed to provide specific details on what they considered to be the lawful votes cast for both parties or the number of unlawful votes they believed were added to the respondent's count. The defendants also questioned the sufficiency of evidence presented by the petitioners and emphasized the importance of credible evidence in legal proceedings.

The head of the respondents' legal team, Chief Olanipekun, referred to a notable pronouncement from a previous Supreme Court case, Elias v. Omo-Bare (1982) 5 SC 13 at 22, stating that the current petition lacked relevant and admissible evidence, and the petitioners had failed to provide substantial proof for their claims.

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