Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has asked the presidential election petition tribunal to strike out the petition filed by the Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, against the emergence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as president-elect.
Livy Ozoukwu, lead counsel to Labour Party and Peter Obi, in the petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023, contended that Tinubu “was not duly elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast at the time of the election.”
They claimed that vice president-elect, Kashim Shettima had a double nomination in contravention of the electoral act, adding that the February 25th presidential election was marred by rigging and manipulations.
The LP and Obi also claimed that INEC violated its regulations when it announced the results when at the time of the announcement, the total polling unit results had yet to be fully scanned, uploaded, and transmitted electronically as required by the electoral act.
Abubakar Mahmoud, counsel to INEC, responding to the petitions, said the reliefs sought by Peter Obi and his Party cannot be granted.
The counsel asked the election tribunal to either “dismiss or strike out the petition for being grossly incompetent, abusive, vague, nebulous, generic, general, non-specific, ambiguous, equivocal, hypothetical and academic.”
The electoral umpire further discredited the petitioners over the claim that Tinubu was not elected by the majority of lawful votes.
According to the Commission, the petitioners’ prayer to declare that Obi scored the majority of lawful votes cast at the election and be declared winner was defective for failure to join necessary parties and for lack of requisite particulars.
INEC furthered that Obi could not be returned as elected for “not having polled majority of the lawful votes cast at the election and /or secured one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all states in the federation and the FCT.”
The electoral body however disclosed that Labour Party and Peter Obi did not have polling agents in all the polling units across Nigeria as they only submitted a list of 134,874 polling agents, which is 41,972 short of the 176,846 polling units across Nigeria.