Alex Enumah in Abuja
A three man panel of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, has giving the go-ahead to three presidential candidates to serve their suit against the outcome of the February 25 election on Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, through his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The panel led by Justice Joseph Ikyegh gave the permission on Friday, while ruling in three separate exparte applications brought by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mr Peter obi and Princess Chichi Ojei of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and the Allied People’s Movement respectively.
The applications which were predicated on alleged inability to serve their suits personally on Tinubu as required by law, were supported by affidavits of non-service.
While that of Atiku was filed and argued by Mr Etitayo Jegede, SAN, that of Obi and Ojei were filed and argued by Mr Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, SAN and Mr O. Atoyebi, SAN, respectively.
In a shortly ruling Justice Ikyegh granted their request as prayed by ordering that the suit challenging the election of Tinubu be served on him through his party, the APC.
Atiku, Obi, Ojei and candidate of the Action Alliance (AA), Solomon Okangbuan are challenging the declaration of Tinubu as winner of the February 25 presidential election.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, had on March 1 announced Tinubu as winner of the presidential poll and accordingly issued him with a Certificate of Return.
According to Yakubu, the APC’s presidential candidate from the totality of votes cast in the election polled 8,805,835 votes to emerged victorious.
While Atiku who came second scored 6,984,640 votes, Obi scored 6,984,640 votes, to come third.
However, dissatisfied with the outcome, five political parties had subsequently dragged the electoral body, Tinubu and the APC to court.
The first was the Action Alliance (AA) and its presidential candidate, Solomon Okangbuan with suit number: CA/PEPC/01/2023; and while the second is unknown as at press time, the third is the Allied People’s Movement (APM) and its presidential candidate, Princess Chichi Ojei with suit number: CA/PEPC/03/2023.
While the fourth; that of Labour Party and, Peter Obi is marked: CA/PEPC/04/2023, that of Atiku is marked: /PEPC/05/2023.
The petitioners have anchored their individual cases on alleged non-compliance with the electoral laws as well as with 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 some of the petitioners are asking the court to, on one hand declare them as authentic winner of the February 25 presidential election; on the other, they are asking for the cancellation of the entire poll and an order for fresh election made.