Supreme Court begins hearing in Atiku, Obi, APM appeals


By Wandoo Sombo
Supreme Court is set to hear the appeals filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), its presidential candidate in the Feb. 25 presidential election, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku.

Atiku is before the court challenging the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court, (PEPC) which affirmed the election of President Bola Tinubu.

The apex court will also hear the petitions filed by the Labour Party and it’s presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi as well as that of the Allied Peoples Movement, (APM) all challenging the judgment of the PEPC.

The panel of Justices hearing the appeals is headed by Justice Inyang Okorowo.

The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the National Security Adviser, (NSA) Mr Nuhu Ribadu, the Chief of Staff to the president Mr Femi Gbajabiamila and the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Chairman, Mr Abdullahi Ganduje are among  dignitories present in court to witness the proceedings.

NAN reoirts that in court filings at the Supreme Court, Mr Chris Uche, Atiku’s counsel contended that the PEPC’s judgment occasioned “grave error and miscarriage of justice” in its legal reasoning by upholding Mr Tinubu’s election as president.

In the document dated Sept. 18, Uche contended that the presidential election court failed to adequately evaluate his client’s evidence before reaching its conclusions.

He further contended, among other issues, that the presidential election court erred in law when it “failed to nullify the presidential election held on Feb. 25 on the grounds of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022, when by evidence before the tribunal, INEC conducted the election based on grave and gross misrepresentation contrary to the principles of the Electoral Act 2022, based on the “doctrine of legitimate expectation.”

In Obi’s appeal at the Supreme Court, his lawyer, Livy Uzoukwu, filed 51 grounds in challenging the presidential election court’s judgment.

Uzoukwu, a SAN, argued that PEPC reached the wrong conclusions.

In one of the grounds, Mr Uzoukwu told the Supreme Court that the five-member panel of the Presidential Election Petition Court led by Haruna Tsammani “erred in law and thereby reached a wrong conclusion” when it dismissed Mr Obi’s suit.

He faulted the presidential election court’s evaluation of Mr Obi’s evidence. He said the court erroneously ruled that Obi’s case failed to establish the polling stations where electoral malpractices took place during the February presidential election.

The lawyer also said the lower court’s conclusions caused a “grave miscarriage of justice” when it held that Obi did not identify the specific number of votes he polled at polling units where he accused INEC and Tinubu of suppression of votes.

In its appeal at Supreme Supreme, APM’s lawyer, Chukwuma–Machukwu–Ume, a SAN, predicated his client’s suit on 10 grounds.

Machukwu-Ume, a SAN, prayed the apex court to nullify the presidential election court verdict for its numerous errors in law.

He argued that sections 131 and 142 (1) of the 1991 Constitution are inextricably linked and neither can be confined as a pre-election matter, as these qualifications are conditions precedent to, for being elected into the office of President. (NAN)