FCT, Abuja – The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPT) will deliver judgment on the petitions filed by Atiku Abubakar (PDP), Peter Obi (LP) and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) against President Bola Tinubu (APC)’s victory on Wednesday, September 6.
The judgement will be delivered by a five-man panel led by Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani.
Legit.ng provides a live update of the judgment proceedings. Stay tuned!
All five members of the panel affirm President Tinubu’s victory in the 2023 presidential election.
Justice Abba Mohammed reads his judgment
The fifth judge and last judge on the panel, Justice Abba Mohammed, takes his turn to also affirm Tinubu’s election by similarly concurring with the reasoning and conclusion of the lead judgement.
He agrees with the lead judgement dismissing all three petitions by Atiku, Peter Obi, and APM.
This means all the five judges unanimously affirm President Tinubu’s election.
Justice Moses Ugo reads his judgment
The fourth member of the panel, Justice Moses Ugo, reads his judgment.
Like others, he agrees with the reasoning and conclusion of the lead judgement on the three petitions.
Justice Misitura Bolaji-Yusuf reads her judgment
The third judge on the panel, Misitura Bolaji-Yusuf, the only female on the panel, also affirms the election of President Tinubu by adopting the reasoning in the lead judgement.
Justice Stephen Adah adopts lead judgment
The second judge, Stephen Adah, adopts the lead judgement by Tsammani by affirming the declaration of Tinubu as the duly elected president of Nigeria.
Tribunal affirms Tinubu’s election
The presidential election tribunal has affirmed the victory of Bola Tinubu (APC) in the 2023 elections.
Justice Tsammani said:
“This petition accordingly lacks merit. I affirm the return of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the duly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The parties are to bear their cost.”
Ruling on Atiku’s petition continues
Justice Adah rejected 15 witnesses called by Atiku on the grounds that their witness statements on oath were not filed along with his petition.
He also expunged 37 exhibits tendered by the witnesses from the court’s records.
He subsequently handed over the reading of the judgement to the head of the panel, Justice Tsammani, who is now dealing with the substantive petition.
Tribunal judgement: Justice Stephen Adah takes over
Another member of the panel, Justice Stephen Adah, is now speaking as the court “takes on the respondent’s objection to documents tendered by petitioners at the trial”
On Atiku’s Guinean citizenship allegation, drug case against Tinubu
The tribunal has dismissed Atiku’s ground, alleging dual citizenship and drug conviction of President Tinubu.
In a judgment on the objections of the APC and Tinubu’s grounds that the issues bordering on his non-qualification to contest the February 25 presidential election, Justice Moses Ugo held that the grounds were new issues.
He upheld the objections of the APC and Tinubu that Atiku and PDP could not smuggle new issues not pleaded in their petition on the grounds of non-qualification.
Tribunal strikes out Atiku’s petition seeking cancellation of presidential election results in Kano, Lagos states
The tribunal has struck out Atiku and PDP’s petition seeking the cancellation of presidential election results in Kano and Lagos states.
According to the court, the petitioners did not join Peter Obi and Senator Rabiu Kwankwanso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) who scored the majority of votes in the two states, respectively.
Time for judgment on Atiku’s petition
Another member of the five-man panel, Justice Moses Ugo, is reading the judgement in Atiku’s case against President Tinubu.
Justice Ugo points out faults in Atiku’s petition, saying it is filed with generic allegations.
The judge said the petition did not list polling units where election malpractices happened.
He also Atiku’s petition for non-joinder of necessary parties, such as Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state who was accused of malpractices during the election in his state.
The judge also held that the PDP/Atiku failed to give details of their allegations of non-qualification of Tinubu.
FCT 25% votes revisited
On the issue of securing 25 per cent of votes in the FCT, the tribunal said the petitioners’ interpretation of Section 134(2)(b) of the 1999 constitution is “completely fallacious — if not outrightly ridiculous”.
Justice Tsammani said the constitution grants every citizen equal rights, and that the argument of the petitioners on the FCT’s superiority is moot.
He reiterated that the FCT is “not superior or inferior” to any other state.
“The FCT is not more than any of the states of the federation.”
The judge who took time to deal with the FCT votes saga emphasised that there is equality of rights irrespective of which part of the country voters prefer to reside.
Obi’s star witness gave hearsay evidence – Tribunal
On the allegation of irregularities and corrupt practices, the tribunal said Obi and LP’s star witness gave “hearsay evidence” which is not admissible in court.
According to the court, the start witness admitted that he monitored the election from a situation room in Abuja.
Ruling on Peter Obi’s petition continues
Justice Tsammani says Obi and LP failed to establish that INEC deliberately refused to promptly upload polling unit results to IReV in order to manipulate the results in favour of Tinubu.
The court also held that the petitioners have failed to prove how they were affected by the failure of INEC to transmit results electronically.
Tribunal rubbishes LP witness’ testimony
The tribunal has rubbished the testimony of Clarita Ogar, a witness subpoenaed by the Labour Party to give evidence against Tinubu’s victory and iRev.
According to the court, Ogar failed to prove that she was a staff of Amazon Web Services, and only presented a “worthless paper”.
AWS is a firm which INEC engaged to provide technical support during the 2023 general election.
On transmission of results
On the mode of transmission of election results, the tribunal said INEC is at liberty to define the mode it intends to use.
Justice Tsammani’s words:
“By the provision of Section 52 and Section 65 of the Electoral Act, INEC is at liberty to prescribe the manner in which result can be transmitted. INEC cannot be compelled to electronically transmit result.”
“There is no provision for the electronic transmission of election results in the Electoral Act 2022.”
Obi, LP failed to prove Tinubu was convicted in US – Tribunal
The tribunal ruled that Obi and LP failed to prove that Tinubu was convicted of money laundering in the United States.
Justice Tsammani held that no record of criminal arrest or conviction was established against Tinubu by the petitioners – Obi and the LP.
Tribunal Dismisses Obi, LP’s 25% FCT Votes Claim
The tribunal has dismissed Obi and LP’s 25% FCT votes claim, saying Abuja is like other states.
On Tinubu’s alleged drug case
The petitioners want Tinubu disqualified due to a supposed criminal indictment, alleging that he forfeited $460,000 in the US for drug trafficking.
However, the tribunal found that the evidence presented by the petitioners (Exhibit P5) revealed it was actually a civil forfeiture case, not a criminal indictment.
According to Justice Tsammani, Obi and LP failed to adduce credible evidence to show that Tinubu was arraigned, took a plea or was sentenced or fined in any criminal suit in the US.
The judge’s words:
“The petitioners have evidently failed to establish their allegation that the 2nd respondent is disqualified from contesting the presidential election under Section 137(1)(d) of the 1999 constitution because he was fined $460,000 by a district court Illinois.”
“The order of forfeiture in Exhibit P5 on which the petitioners have relied does not qualify as a sentence of fine for an offence involving dishonesty or fraud within the confabulation of Section 137(d) of the 1999 constitution.”
Judgment on Obi/LP’s petition continues
The tribunal has rejected the admissibility of evidence tendered by LP’s web engineer, Mpeh Ogar, regarding a technical glitch observed on the INEC result viewing portal.
Ogar’s evidence was rejected on the ground that he “was an interested party in the petition having vied for elective office on LP’s platform”.
Obi/LP’s alleged 18,088 blurred polling unit results
The tribunal also did not admit in evidence the 18,088 blurred polling unit results tendered by Obi/LP.
According to the court, the issue of blurred 18,000 results sheets alleged by the petitioners is misconceived as they could not state the specific polling units they were meant for.
Meanwhile, the tribunal discountenanced the objection seeking to strike out documents tendered by Obi/LP on the alleged drug trafficking indictment and $460,000 forfeiture by President Bola Tinubu in the US.
Tribunal rejects EU report on 2023 election
Still ruling on the Peter Obi/LP petition, the tribunal rejected the European Union report on the presidential election.
The court said the report was not tendered by an official of the body which authored it.
Tribunal rejects testimonies of 10 witnesses presented by Peter Obi, LP
The tribunal has rejected the testimonies given by 10 out of 13 witnesses called by Peter Obi and the Labour Party.
According to Justice Haruna Tsammani, the witnesses’ statements of oath were incompetent and not admissible.
He further explained that witness statements were filed out of time.
Those affected are witnesses 3,4,5,6, 7,8,9,10,11 and 13.
Judgment on Obi’s petition continues
Justice Tsamman takes over from Justice Mohammed. He is delivering judgment in the main petition filed by Obi and LP.
Tinubu, Shettima cannot challenge Obi’s candidacy – Tribunal
President Tinubu and VP Shettima had contended the locus standi to institute the petition against them on the grounds that Obi only joined the LP a few days before the primary election instead of the mandatory 30 days.
However, the court held that it was not within the rights of Tinubu and Shettima to challenge Obi’s candidacy.
“The issue of membership of a political party is an internal party affair,” Justice Abba Mohammed said.
The tribunal also dismissed the objection raised by Tinubu and Shettima contending that Obi and LP failed to join Atiku Abubakar as a respondent in their petition.
Determination of election is about figures – Tribunal
According to the tribunal, Peter Obi and LP claimed to have scored the majority of lawful votes cast but they failed to state the number of lawful votes they scored.
“The determination of election is about figures,” the tribunal stated.
Peter Obi, LP only made “generic accusations of irregularities”
Reading the judgement on the Obi/LP petition, the tribunal said the petitioners only made “generic accusations of irregularities” in the election.
According to the court, Obi and LP failed to specify the anomaly, the places where it occurred and those affected.
“They also failed to prove that their votes were suppressed by failing to specify the number of votes suppressed,” the tribunal added.
The tribunal reiterated that the affected paragraphs failed to name the specific polling units where irregularities occurred.
It also struck out several paragraphs of the LP’s petition for being generic and vague.
Tribunal reconvenes: Time for Peter Obi’s petition
The court reconvenes with judgment on Peter Obi and Labour Party’s petition is being read.
This time, Justice Abba Mohammed is reading the judgment.
15-minute break at the tribunal
After throwing out the APM’s petition, the court takes a 15-minute recess.
APM’s petition against Shettima lacks merit – Tribunal
The tribunal holds that the petition of the APM against Vice-President Kashim Shettima is “devoid of any merit”.
Justice Haruna Tsammani’s words:
“Nothing in the constitution bars a candidate from nominating a running mate if the original running mate withdraws. You don’t need primaries to pick a running mate. The petition of APM is therefore without any merit.”
Still on APM’s petition
According to Justice Tsammani, the alleged double nomination claim made against Vice-President Kashim Shettima has no substance.
He holds that the case has been settled by the Supreme Court, adding that no one has the right to litigate on it again.
APM lacks locus standi to challenge another political party’s nomination of candidates – Tribunal
Further reading the judgment, Justice Tsammani said the APM lacks the locus standi to challenge the nomination of the candidates of another political party.
He added that the issue of qualification or non-qualification is a pre-election matter.
According to the judge, the matter ought to have been filed at the Federal High Court 14 days after the conduct of a primary election.
Tribunal lacks jurisdiction to determine qualification or non-qualification of candidates – Justice Tsammani
Haruna Tsammani, the chairman of the tribunal panel, is still reading the judgement on the APM petition.
The APM’s petition mainly focuses on the non-qualification of Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima to contest the election.
However, Justice Tsammani said the presidential election petition tribunal lacks jurisdiction to determine the issue of qualification or non-qualification of a candidate.
Judgement begins with APM’s petition!
Haruna Tsammani, tribunal chairman of the panel, is now reading the judgement in the petition filed by the APM.
Counsels announce appearance
- Livy Uzoukwu, counsel representing Peter Obi and LP
- Stephen Adehi counsel representing INEC
- Charles Edosomwan counsel representing APC
- Julius Abure is representing the Labour Party
- May Agbamuche is representing INEC
- Kashim Shettima is representing himself as the third respondent
- Abdullahi Ganduje is representing APC.
Tribunal starts with Peter Obi’s petition
The tribunal starts with the petition of Peter Obi and the Labour Party.
The five judges have entered the courtroom. They filed in at 9:28am. They have now taken their seats.
According to Haruna Tsammani, chairman of the five-member panel of justices, the judgment is a bit lengthy and will take a few hours to read.
“Today we have reached the zenith of these proceedings. The judgment is a bit lengthy so we plead your patience,” he says.
Top politicians arrive court
- Festus Keyamo, the minister of aviation
- Abdullahi Ganduje, APC chairman
- Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed
- Abdullahi Sule, Nasawara state governor
- Femi Gbajabiamila, chief of staff to the president
- Nuhu Ribadu, the National Security Adviser (NSA)
- Labour Party’s chairman: Julius Abure
- Umar Damagum, PDP chairman
Judgment proceedings to start by 9am
Legit.ng gathers that the judgment proceedings will kick off at 9am. Lawyers and party representatives are already in court.
Vice President Kashim Shettima arrives court
Nigeria’s Vice President Kashim Shettima has arrived at the court ahead of the judgement proceedings, according to Channels TV.
President Bola Tinubu will not attend as he is currently out of the country. He is in India for a six-day official visit and will attend the G-20 Leaders’ Summit amongst other engagements.
Tribunal judgement: 7 reasons why Atiku, Obi want Tinubu sacked
There are seven key reasons why Atiku and Obi want Tinubu sacked by the court. The tribunal is expected to rule on the seven issues listed below:
- Alleged manipulation of results, overvoting
- Delay in electronic transmission of results
- Twenty-five per cent votes in FCT
- Alleged double nomination (VP Kashim Shettima)
- Alleged forged certificate (President Bola Tinubu)
- Alleged drug conviction (President Bola Tinubu)
- Alleged perjury on age, dual citizenship (President Bola Tinubu)
State of Security at the Court of Appeal
Security operatives are at the Court of Appeal as the tribunal is set to deliver its judgment.
Flashback: How INEC declared Tinubu winner of 2023 presidential election
In the early hours of Wednesday, March 1, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officially declared Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), as the winner of Nigeria’s 2023 Presidential Election.
Breakdown of the results of the top three candidates
- Bola Tinubu (APC) – 8,794,726
- Atiku Abubakar (PDP) – 6,984,520
- Peter Obi (Labour Party (LP) – 6,101,533.
Read more details here.
Presidential election tribunal: List of presiding judges
- Justice Haruna Tsammani (head of the panel)
- Justice Stephen Adah
- Justice Monsurat Bolaji-Yusuf
- Justice Boloukuoromo Moses Ugo
- Justice Abbah Mohammed
Read the full profiles of the judges here
Proceedings to be broadcast live — but you won’t see judges’ faces
The presidential election petition tribunal approved the live telecast of its judgement nationwide.
However, the faces of the presiding judges will not be shown, according to Channels TV.
Those in the court will see and hear the judges. However, those watching from home will only hear judges’ voices.
Read more details here.
Presidential election tribunal: List of 3 petitions against Tinubu
- Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi Versus INEC and 3 others
- The Allied Peoples Movement Versus INEC and 4 others
- Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar Versus INEC and 2 others.
Read the full details of the petitions here.