Fate of Tinubu, Atiku, and Obi Rests with Five Judges of the Presidential Tribunal Today

The Presidential Election Petitions Court will deliver its verdicts today after months of hearing the petitions challenging the outcome of the February 25, 2023 presidential election.

The proceedings will be broadcast live from the Court of Appeal in Abuja, where the Tribunal is sitting, and many Nigerians and international observers will be keenly following the developments on their digital devices.

The nation is gripped by a sense of anticipation and apprehension as the judiciary prepares to pronounce its judgment on the disputed election that saw four candidates vying for the highest office in the land.

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the total valid votes cast in the election were slightly above 24 million.

The electoral body announced that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, emerged victorious with 8,794,726 votes, beating his closest rival — former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who garnered 6,984,520 votes.

The Labour Party (LP) candidate, Peter Obi, who attracted a large number of young voters in a remarkable campaign, came third with 6,101,533 votes.

Tinubu and Atiku each won 12 states out of the 36 states of the federation, while Obi secured 11 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The fourth candidate, former Kano State Governor and flag bearer of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, won his home state — Kano with 1,496,687 votes. The four candidates also had significant votes in several other states.

INEC declared Tinubu as the winner of the election on March 1, 2023, a declaration that was promptly rejected by Atiku and Obi as well as their supporters.

In his acceptance speech as the President-Elect, Tinubu urged his opponents to seek redress in court if they were dissatisfied with the result.

“I know some candidates will be hard put to accept the election results. It is your right to seek legal recourse. What is neither right nor defensible is for anybody to resort to violence. Any challenge to the electoral outcome should be made in a court of law, and not in the streets,” Tinubu had said.

The result has been challenged by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP). They alleged some irregularities in the conduct of the poll, including the malfunctioning of the electronic results transmission system of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as required by Section 60 of the Electoral Act 2022.

Along with three other aggrieved parties — Action Peoples Party (APP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and the Action Alliance (AA) — they filed separate petitions at the Presidential Election Petitions Court, seeking to nullify Tinubu’s victory.

The court, presided over by Justice Haruna Tsammani, concluded hearing the petitions on August 1, 2023, and reserved judgment for a later date.

On September 4, 2023, the Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Umar Bangari, announced that the court will deliver its verdicts on the petitions on September 6, 2023. He added that the proceedings will be broadcast live by interested television stations.

Ahead of the judgment day, the court issued a memo, signed by Oluwaleye David on behalf of the Chief Registrar, directing its staff members to stay away from work to ensure a conducive environment for the court session.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police Force said it has beefed up security across the country to maintain law and order. In a statement on Tuesday by its spokesperson, Muyiwa Adejobi, the police warned politicians and troublemakers to refrain from spreading false information and making inflammatory statements that could incite violence.
“The Police wish to reiterate the commitment to ensuring the safety of lives and property before, during, and after the judgment,” Adejobi said.

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