Presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party Atiku Abubakar and the Labour Party Peter Obi have rejected Wednesday’s judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal affirming the election of President Bola Tinubu.
The tribunal which began sitting on Wednesday at 9.40am at the Court of Appeal, Abuja rounded off at night.
The five-member panel took turns to dismiss the petitions presented by Atiku and Obi against the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission on March 1, 2023.
The judgment was delivered by the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Haruna Tsammani, assisted by other members of the panel-Justices Stephen Adah, Monsurat Bolaji-Yusuf, Moses Ugo and Abba Mohammed.
Delivering judgment on Atiku’s petition, Tsammani stated, “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.”
Reacting to it, Atiku’s lead counsel Chris Uche said he had received instructions from his client to file an appeal at the Supreme Court.
He said “The judgment has been delivered but we have not received justice. Luckily, the law has given us leverage to go on appeal to the Supreme Court. We have instructions from our clients to go to the Supreme Court. The struggle continues.”
Legal adviser to the Labour Party Kehinde Edun vowed to challenge the judgment at the Supreme Court.
Edun said, “We already had a premonition that this might happen. For example, where the court was saying the statements of some key witnesses should have been filed along with the petitions. How can that be? Subpoena is an order of court by which the court has compelled a witness to come and give evidence before or as of the time you are filing the petition.
“This is because I have not assumed jurisdiction, the tribunal has also not assumed jurisdiction. We are just filing. It is only after filing that the court assumes jurisdiction, not before. So how can you file a witness statement at the time of filing the petition? It is when the court signs the subpoena.”
He explained, ‘’That subpoena is an invitation to the person indicating that the court has given him an order to come and give evidence. So, if the court has not ordered the person, how can he give any statement?
“This is why I said the judgment is so strange. And it is on the basis that they knocked out the evidence of 10 of our 13 witnesses, which inevitably weakened our case. It is a strange judgment.”