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APC Asks Tribunal To Throw Away Obi, Labour Party’s Petition, Says It’s Frivolous, Lacks Merit

by Victor Ndubuisi

The All Progressives Congress requested the presidential election petition court on Monday to dismiss the appeal filed by the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, against President-elect Bola Tinubu.

The APC, the fourth respondent, sought the court to dismiss the petition in a preliminary objection stamped CA/PEPC/03/2023 and filed at the court’s secretariat Monday night in Abuja by Thomas Ojo, a member of the party’s legal team supervised by Lateef Fagbemi.

The party requested that the tribunal dismiss the petition with costs because it lacked merit and was frivolous.

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Mr Obi, the first petitioner, and the Labour Party, the second petitioner, had sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Tinubu, Vice-President-elect Kashim Shettima, and the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the first to fourth respondents, respectively.


The petitioners want the election victories of Tinubu and Shettima in the February 25 presidential election overturned.

Mr Obi finished third with 6,101,533 votes, trailing former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, who received 6,984,520 votes.

Mr. Abubakar and the PDP are also contesting the election results.

The term “electronic commerce” refers to the sale of electronic goods. The petitioners claimed that rigging occurred in 11 states.

Mr Obi and his party alleged that INEC broke the law when it declared the results despite the fact that the whole polling unit results had not been fully scanned, uploaded, and transferred electronically as required by the Electoral Act.

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The term “electronic commerce” refers to the sale of electronic goods.


“That it be determined that all the votes recorded for the second respondent in the election are wasted votes, owing to the non-qualification of the second and third respondents. That it be determined that on the basis of the remaining votes (after discountenancing the votes credited to the second respondent), the first petitioner (Mr Obi) scored a majority of the lawful votes cast at the election and had not less than 25 per cent of the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of the states of the federation and the FCT and satisfied the constitutional requirements to be declared the winner of the February 25 presidential election,” stated the petition.

It asked the tribunal to determine that Mr Tinubu, “having failed to score one-quarter of the votes cast at the presidential election in the FCT, was not entitled to be declared and returned as the winner of the presidential election held on February 25.”

Responding, the APC urged the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that Mr Obi, the first petitioner, lacked the necessary locus standi to institute the petition because he had not been a member of the Labour Party for at least 30 days prior to the party’s presidential primary to be validly sponsored by the party.


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“The first petitioner (Mr Obi) was a member of PDP until May 24, 2022. The first petitioner was screened as a presidential aspirant of the PDP in Apni 2022. The first petitioner participated and was cleared to contest the presidential election while being a member of the PDP,” APC argued. “First petitioner purportedly resigned his membership of PDP on May 24, 2022, to purportedly join the 2nd petitioner (Labour Party) on May 27, 2022.”

It alleged that Labour Party, the second petitioner, “conducted its presidential primary on May 30, 2022, which purportedly produced the first petitioner as its candidate, which time contravened Section 77(3) of the Electoral Act for him to contest the primary election as a member of the second petitioner.”


APC argued that Mr Obi was not a member of the Labour Party as of the time of his alleged sponsorship, arguing that “by the mandatory provisions of Section 77 (1) (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act 2022, a political party shall maintain a register and shall make such register available to INEC not later than 30 days before the date fixed for the party primaries, congresses and convention.”

It went on to say that all of the PDP’s presidential candidates were screened on April 29, 2022, an exercise in which Mr Obi took part and was cleared to run while still a member of the party.

Mr Obi and Labour’s plea, according to the APC, was ineffective since Mr Obi’s name could not have been on the party’s record made public to INEC when he joined the party.

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The APC claimed that the petition was improperly constituted because Mr Abubakar and the PDP were not included.


“By Paragraph 17 of the petition, the petitioners, on their own, stated that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar came second in the presidential election with 6,984,520 votes as against the petitioners who came third with 6,101,533 votes; at Paragraph 102 (iti) of the petition, the petitioners urged the tribunal to determine that 1st petitioner scored the majority of lawful votes without joining Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the petition,” the APC stated.

It added, “For the tribunal to grant prayer (iii) of the petitioners, the tribunal must have set aside the scores and election of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar must be heard before his votes can be discountenanced by the tribunal.”

The petition and the highlighted paragraphs, according to the party, violated the mandatory provisions of paragraph 4(1)(D) of the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act of 2022.

According to APC, paragraphs 60 through 77 of the petition are non-specific, imprecise, and/or nebulous, rendering them ineffective in violation of paragraph 4(1)(d) of the Ist Schedule to the Election Act of 2022.


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It said that the charges of noncompliance must be made clearly and proven on a polling unit basis, however none were mentioned or provided in any of the petition’s paragraphs.

“Paragraphs 59-60 of the petition disclose no identity or particulars of scores and polling units supplied in 18,088 units mentioned therein,” it added.


As a result, the party maintained, among other things, that the tribunal lacked the necessary authority to hear pre-election objections incorporated in the petition as it is now.
The APC urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition with costs because it lacks merit and is based on frivolity.


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