The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed its shock and disappointment over the verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) that upheld the election of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The acting national chairman of the PDP, Ambassador Umar Damagum, said this on Thursday, September 7, 2023, before the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party in Abuja. He said the party was not satisfied with the judgment of the tribunal and would appeal to the Supreme Court.
“We are shocked by the outcome of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. We believe that justice was not done to our candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and to the Nigerian people who voted massively for him. We are not convinced by the reasons given by the tribunal for dismissing our petition. We will appeal to the Supreme Court to reverse this injustice and restore the mandate of the people to Atiku,” he said.
Damagum also accused the APC-led federal government of using intimidation, harassment, and manipulation to subvert the will of the people and undermine the electoral process. He alleged that the APC used security agencies, anti-graft agencies, and media propaganda to influence the outcome of the election and the tribunal.
He urged PDP members and supporters to remain calm and peaceful, while assuring them that the party would explore all legal means to reclaim its stolen mandate. He also thanked Nigerians for their support and solidarity for the PDP and its presidential candidate.
The PDP had filed a petition against Tinubu’s election on February 18, 2023, challenging his victory on the grounds of alleged irregularities, non-compliance with electoral laws, and use of an illegal server by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The party and its candidate presented 62 witnesses and tendered thousands of documents to prove their case.
However, on September 6, 2023, the five-man panel of judges led by Justice Mohammed Garba dismissed the petition in its entirety, saying it lacked merit and failed to prove any of its allegations. The tribunal also affirmed that Tinubu was duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast in the election and that he met all the constitutional requirements for his qualification.
The tribunal’s verdict has been greeted with mixed reactions from Nigerians, with some hailing it as a victory for democracy and rule of law, while others condemning it as a travesty of justice and a rape of democracy.