President Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have jointly requested the disqualification of Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi, from participating in any rerun election if the February 25th election is annulled.
The legal team of Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, argued that Peter Obi is not a valid member of the Labour Party and thus lacks the legal right to challenge the election outcome.
They emphasized that the Court of Appeal, Lagos division, had previously ruled against the Labour Party, confirming that INEC had the discretion on the mode of collation of the election results.
In response, Peter Obi and the Labour Party filed a joint petition alleging that the presidential poll was marred by rigging in about 18,088 polling units, resulting in over 2.5 million votes, and citing instances of alleged over-voting in parts of the South West.
They further raised concerns about INEC’s failure to upload results to the IREV portal in real-time, which they claimed negatively impacted the elections.
The lead counsel for the APC and ministerial nominee, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), adopted the arguments put forth by Olanipekun.
He asserted that Obi’s petition lacked sufficient evidence to challenge the election results and that the issue of a rerun if deemed necessary, should be contested between Tinubu and the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
Regarding the US Court judgment ordering Tinubu to forfeit funds suspected to be proceeds of narcotics deals found in his account, Olanipekun cited the 1999 Constitution, which states that a conviction expires after ten years.
The legal representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), led by Abubakar Mahmoud, also refuted Obi’s petition.
They argued that INEC took extensive measures to ensure the proper functioning of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines, countering the petitioner’s claims of deliberate human interference.
Mahmoud stated that the INEC Results Viewing Portal, IRev, was intended for public viewing and not for collating results.
He contended that the petitioners failed to provide substantial evidence of real-time result impact on the elections and challenged the credibility of the so-called “18,088 blurred results” on IRev.