Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the recently held Nigerian Presidential Election, Peter Gregory Obi, has filed a petition challenging the victory of Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr Tinubu was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in the election held on February 25 this year.
Mr Obi had alleged widespread malpractices in the elections, including failure of the INEC to timeously upload results on the IREV, the platform that provides information to aid election transparency. Supporters of Mr Obi had also spread several videos and pictures on social media alleging complicity on the part of INEC staff to rig the election for Mr Tinubu.
Grounds for petition
However, when Mr Obi finally filed his petition, he jettisoned the allegations of election malpractices and rather challenged the qualification of Mr Tinubu, the eventual winner.
Mr Obi, who came third in the election, filed his petition at the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja, at about midnight on Tuesday.
The Labour Party candidate is seeking five prayers in his petition, principal among them being that Mr Tinubu “at the time of the (presidential) election was not qualified to contest the election.”
He is therefore calling on the court to cancel the 25 February presidential election and order a fresh poll.
Nigeria’s Premium Times Newspaper reported that Mr Obi is also urging the Presidential Election Petition Court to “determine that at the time of the presidential election held on 25 February, 2023,” Messrs Tinubu and Shettima “were not qualified to contest the election. ”
He prayed the tribunal “to determine that all the votes recorded for “Mr Tinubu in the election are wasted votes, owing to the non-qualification” of the president-elect and Mr Shettima.
Mr Obi, who is seeking five reliefs from the Tribunal, also argued that the president-elect “was not duly elected by majority of the lawful votes cast at the time of the election.”
The petition, jointly filed by Mr Obi and the Labour Party as co-petitioners, joined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Tinubu, Shettima Kashim (vice president-elect), and the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the respondents.
Tuesday, being the 21st day after the declaration of the results of the election on 1 March, is the last day he or any other aggrieved candidates and political parties had to file their petition in court.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, who announced the final results in the early hours of 1 March in Abuja, said Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came second in the election.
Atiku polled a total of 6,984,520 votes in the election while Mr Obi of the Labour Party came third in the election with a total of 6,101,533 votes, with Rabiu Kwankwaso of the NNPP coming fourth with 1,496,687 votes.
Obi’s legal team is led by Livy Uzoukwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who led Mr Atiku’s legal team when the former vice president unsuccessfully challenged the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.