The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has delivered its judgement on the petition filed by the Labour Party (LP) and its candidate, Peter Obi, challenging the sham victory of President Bola Tinubu in the February 25, 2023 election. The court dismissed the petition for lacking merit and upheld Tinubu’s election as valid.
The LP and Obi who had confirmed that the election was marred by widespread rigging, manipulation, and irregularities in favour of Tinubu and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). They claimed that they won the election based on the results transmitted electronically by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to a central server. They also challenged Tinubu’s eligibility to contest the election, alleging that he did not possess the required educational qualification.
To prove their case, the LP and Obi tendered boxes containing evidence of rigging state by state and polling units, and brought witnesses to testify before the court. They also relied on expert witnesses to analyse the data from the INEC server and other forensic documents.
However, the court, in a unanimous judgement delivered by Justice Haruna Tsammani, held that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations beyond reasonable doubt. The court said that the petitioners did not mention the specific polling units where rigging took place, nor did they present any sheet or forensic document to show the states listed in certain paragraphs on rigged polling units. The court also said that the petitioners did not establish that there was an INEC server that transmitted results electronically, or that Tinubu did not meet the constitutional requirement for educational qualification.
The judgement has sparked mixed reactions from Nigerians on social media. Some expressed disappointment and anger at the outcome of the case, accusing the court of bias and injustice. Others congratulated Tinubu and APC for their victory, saying that the court affirmed the will of the people.
One of the critics of the judgement was @Chude__, who tweeted: “Throughout the case hearing, the Labour Party counsel tendered all these boxes containing evidence of widespread rigging state by state and polling units, witnesses were even brought to court. Today, these Judges(Justice Bello) looked Nigerians in the face and said that: “polling units where rigging took place were not mentioned by the Petitioners. That the petitioners did not present any sheet or forensic document to show the states listed in certain paragraphs on rigged polling units.” Damn! I’m livid!”
Another user, @Naija4Life, commented: “This is a sad day for democracy in Nigeria. The PEPC has just rubber-stamped a fraudulent election that robbed Nigerians of their choice. How can they say there was no rigging when we all saw what happened on election day? How can they say there was no server when INEC admitted it in their own documents? How can they say Tinubu is qualified when he has no certificate? This is a travesty of justice!”
On the other hand, some users praised the judgement as fair and credible. One of them was @APC4Ever, who wrote: “Congratulations to President Bola Tinubu and APC for this well-deserved victory at the PEPC. The court has confirmed what we already knew: that Tinubu won the election fair and square, and that he is qualified to lead this great nation. The LP and Obi should accept their defeat and stop wasting our time with frivolous petitions. Tinubu is here to stay!”
Another user, @ProudNigerian, said: “I am happy with the PEPC judgement. It shows that our judiciary is independent and impartial. The LP and Obi had no case at all. They were only trying to cause confusion and chaos in the country. They should respect the verdict of the court and join hands with Tinubu to move Nigeria forward.”