*Obi asks court to declare Tinubu’s votes wasted
Alex Enumah in Abuja
The legal battle for the number one office has officially began with three out of the 18 political parties that participated in the February 25 presidential election, officially filing their individual petitions against the outcome of the election.
Amongst those aggrieved with the declaration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as winner of the presidential election are the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi; Action Alliance (AA) and its presidential candidate Mr Solomon Okangbuan, and Allied People’s Movement (APM) and its presidential candidate, Princess Chichi Ojei.
In the separate suits marked CA/PEPC/01/2023; CA/PEPC/03/2023 and CA/PEPC/04/2023; Obi, Okangbuan and Ojei, are respectively challenging the outcome of the February 25 presidential election on grounds of substantial non-compliance with the electoral laws as well as the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The petitioners also alleged that the February 25 presidential election was characterized by huge irregularities and electoral malpractices following INEC’s failure to electronically upload results immediately from its polling units to the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IREV).
While INEC is the 1st respondent, Tinubu, his Vice-president elect, Kasheem Shetima and the APC are 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively.
Besides non-compliance, Obi and LP in their petition are claiming that at the time of the presidential election held on February 25, 2023 Tinubu and Shettima were not qualified to contest the election.
“That it be determined that all the votes recorded for the 2nd respondent in the election are wasted votes owing to the non- qualification/ disqualification of 2,3 respondents.
“That it be determined that on the basis of the remaining votes after discountenancing the votes credited to the 2,3 respondents the 1st petitioner scored a majority of the lawful votes cast at the election and had not less than 25% in each of at least 2/3 of the States of the Federation and the Federal capital Territory, Abuja and satisfied the constitutional requirements to be declared the winner of February 25, 2023 Presidential Election.
“That it be determined that 2nd respondent having failed to score one quarter of the votes cast at the presidential election in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja was not entitled to be declared and returned as the winner of the presidential election held on Saturday February 25, 2023”, the submitted.
INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, had on March 1 declared Tinubu president-elect on grounds that his party scored majority of votes cast at the poll.
In the results announced Tinubu polled 8,805,835 votes to emerge victorious.
Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who came second scored 6,984,640 votes, while Obi scored 6,101,533 votes.
Besides seeking that he be declared winner of the election on grounds that he is the authentic winner of the presidential election, Obi in an alternative prayer asked the tribunal to cancel the entire election and ordered INEC to conduct a fresh poll.