Twelve days following the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC)’s affirmation of President Bola Tinubu’s victory in the 2023 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) have presented their arguments to the Supreme Court, challenging the tribunal’s decision.
Atiku, who came in second in the election, filed 35 grounds of appeal, emphasizing the tribunal’s failure to void the election based on the “doctrine of legitimate expectation.” He also contested the tribunal’s decision on electronic transmission, the 25 per cent votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and called for a rerun between him and Tinubu exclusively.
Peter Obi, the former governor of Anambra State, filed 51 grounds of appeal, urging the apex court to consider his request, set aside the tribunal’s judgment, and grant the reliefs sought in his petition, either as the primary remedy or as an alternative.
Atiku’s Grounds of Appeal
The five-member tribunal panel had on September 6 upheld Tinubu’s victory, ruling that Atiku and other petitioners failed to substantiate their claims of irregularities, corrupt practices, and non-compliance in the election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Atiku, dissatisfied with the outcome, argued that the tribunal erred in law by affirming the election’s outcome and asked the Supreme Court to nullify the entire tribunal’s decision. He further sought to be declared as the authentic winner of the election.
Atiku’s Notice of Appeal, dated September 18, stated that the tribunal failed to consider the “Doctrine of Legitimate Expectation” concerning INEC’s failure to conduct the election in line with its own guidelines and the Electoral Act of 2022. He asserted that INEC had publicly guaranteed that polling unit results would be electronically transmitted, which was not implemented during the election.
Moreover, Atiku contended that INEC’s misrepresentation of its actions negated the legal presumption of official regularity. He argued that the election should have been nullified due to the “doctrine of legitimate expectation.”
Challenging the “Doctrine of Legitimate Expectation” and Electoral Mismanagement
Obi and LP argued that the tribunal’s judgment was “perverse” and went against the weight of evidence. They claimed that the tribunal wrongly struck out specific paragraphs of their petition, which denied them the right to a fair hearing and resulted in a miscarriage of justice.
Furthermore, they criticized the tribunal’s interpretation of Section 134(2) of the 1999 Constitution, emphasizing that using technology in the election was mandatory and not discretionary.
In conclusion, Atiku and Obi have brought their appeals to the Supreme Court, seeking to challenge the tribunal’s decision and ensure their claims of irregularities and misrepresentations in the election are thoroughly examined.
By: Stella C. Akupue.
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