Atiku and Obi Plan Supreme Court Appeal Following PEPT Judgment

Reacting to the ruling of Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) which dismissed the petitions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP) against the election of President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday, the PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and the LP candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, expressed their dissatisfaction with the verdict and vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Atiku said he would not give up on his legal challenge and would not accept the “mandate banditry” of Tinubu. He said he had only lost a battle, but the war was still ahead. He urged his supporters to remain steadfast and to draw inspiration from his leader and mentor, the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, who taught him that losing a battle was less important than losing the war.

The PEPC judgment was met with mixed reactions from various stakeholders, who expressed their views on the merits and demerits of the ruling.

Speaking at a press conference at PDP National Secretariat, Abuja, yesterday, the former vice president said “We might have lost a battle yesterday (Wednesday) but the war is well ahead of us. And I believe that with our hopes in God, we shall win the war of restoring confidence in our electoral system.”

He explained that while he respected the court judgment, he respectfully rejected it because it fell short of justice.

His words: “As you already know, I approached the court following the declaration by INEC that the APC and its candidate are the winners of the February 25, presidential election.

“My decision to go to court is anchored in my belief that the court is the sanctuary of justice. The journey of my political career, as you know, holds so much to the courage and fearless decisions of our judiciary.

“Indeed, I am no stranger to legal battles, and I can say that I have a fair idea of how the court system works.

“All through my career as a politician, I have been a fighter, and I must say that I have found the judiciary as a worthy pillar to rest on in the pursuit of justice.

“The last presidential election in our country and the way it was managed by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, leaves behind unenviable precedents, which I believe the courts have a duty to redress.

“Our gains in ensuring transparent elections through the deployment of technology was heavily compromised by INEC in the way it managed the last presidential election, and I am afraid that the judgment of the court as rendered by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, failed to restore confidence in our dreams of free and fair elections, devoid of human manipulations.

“Like I did say at the beginning of this legal battle when I instructed my lawyers to file my petition challenging the outcome of the presidential election, my ultimate goal in this pursuit is to ensure that democracy is further strengthened through the principles and processes of fair hearing.

“I take great pains to tell you that the decision of the court of first instance on this matter utterly falls far short of that expectation.

“I am, therefore, here to tell you that though the judgment of the court yesterday is respected, it is a judgment that I refuse to accept. I refuse to accept the judgment because I believe it is bereft of substantial justice.

“However, the disappointment in the verdict of the court can never destroy my confidence in the judiciary.

“Consequently, I have asked my lawyers to activate my constitutionally guaranteed rights of appeal to the higher court, which, in the instance, is the Supreme Court.

“It is my conviction that the electoral process in Nigeria should be devoid of untidy manipulations and that the outcome of every election should be a perfect reflection of the wishes of the electorate.

“I believe that such is the only way through which our democracy can have a manifest expression of its true meaning.

“Whether I prevail in this quest or not, the record of my effort in ensuring an order of credible elections in Nigeria shall remain for the future generations to evaluate.”

Similarly, Obi did not accept the verdict of the PEPT and disclosed that he would appeal to the apex court.

Obi, who was at his residence in Onitsha and commended the PEPT for following the statutory time limit, said he respected the court’s opinions and rulings but disagreed with the judgment’s logic and final outcome.

He said: “Yesterday, September 6, 2023, the PEPC finally delivered its long-awaited judgments on the petitions challenging the outcome of the presidential election held on February 25, 2023. This judgment was delivered within the statutory time frame under the extant statutes.

‘’We acknowledge the court’s contributions to due process and the seeming attempt to strengthen our democracy.

“As petitioners in this case, we respect the views and rulings of the court but we disagree with the court’s reasoning and conclusions in the judgment it delivered. It is my intention as a presidential candidate and the intention of the Labour Party to challenge this judgment by way of appeal immediately, as allowed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

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