ABUJA — The fate has been determined. The legal battle surrounding the presidential election held on February 25 will reach its conclusion today as a seven-member panel of the Supreme Court delivers its verdict on the appeals made by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr. Peter Obi, challenging the election of President Bola Tinubu.
Atiku, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Obi, his counterpart from the Labour Party (LP), are seeking to invalidate Tinubu’s election victory, who ran under the banner of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Having previously failed to stop Tinubu at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) on September 6, Atiku and Obi turned to the apex court.
On Monday, their appeals were heard and all the involved parties – Atiku, PDP, Obi, LP, Tinubu, APC, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) – presented their final arguments. The judgment was subsequently reserved by the court, with Justice Inyang Okoro leading proceedings.
Yesterday, the apex court informed all parties involved through a notice signed by one of its Registrars about the date of today’s judgment.
The seven justices who will decide on this significant matter are Inyang Okoro, Uwani Abba-Aji, Lawal Garba, Ibrahim Saulawa, Adamu Jauro, Abubakar Tijjani, and Emmanuel Akomaye Agim.
Appeals by Atiku and Obi
Atiku and Obi are disputing the INEC’s declaration that Tinubu of the ruling APC was the rightful winner of the presidential election on February 25. They are urging the apex court to overturn the PEPC’s September 6 ruling, where their claim of election rigging in favor of the APC was dismissed.
Besides challenging Tinubu’s eligibility to participate in the election, Atiku, who came in second, and Obi, who came in third, assert that Tinubu did not obtain the majority of valid votes to be declared the winner.
Although there were originally five petitions lodged against President Tinubu’s declaration as the winner of the presidential contest involving 17 candidates, only three of them reached the highest court. Two of the petitions were withdrawn before being heard by PEPC, which held its proceedings at the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal. Out of the three petitions entered at the Supreme Court, only two of them made it to the final stage of the legal process.
A seven-member panel led by Justice Inyang Okoro in the apex court dismissed the case brought forward by the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) on Monday. The APM reluctantly withdrew its appeal, which the panel deemed to be irrelevant and without any legal purpose.
Consequently, the remaining appeals were those filed by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi.