High-Stakes Drama Unfolds as PEPC Considers Fate of Presidential Election Petitions”

In a historic turn of events, the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) convened in Abuja to deliberate on a momentous legal battle. The central question looms large: will the pendulum of justice swing in favor of President Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), or will it favor the opposition candidates, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi of the Labour Party?

The February 25, 2023, presidential election marked a watershed moment in Nigeria’s democratic history, with four formidable candidates emerging – including three running neck-and-neck. Amid this political intensity, a unique legal challenge emerged: the Judiciary was called upon to clarify the status of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, in relation to elections, a matter with significant constitutional implications.

On August 1, Atiku, Obi, Tinubu, and Vice President Kashim Shettima presented their final arguments, setting the stage for PEPC’s imminent judgment, anticipated to be delivered in mid to late August or early September. This critical decision comes after 180 days of proceedings, as the petitions were filed in early March.

The heart of the matter rests on whether Senator Tinubu rightfully secured victory in the election, as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Of the original 18 candidates, five pursued legal action against Tinubu’s victory, with two petitions subsequently withdrawn and dismissed.

Atiku and Obi’s petitions are rooted in allegations of electoral misconduct, non-compliance with constitutional and electoral laws, and irregularities such as vote suppression and manipulation. They challenge not only Tinubu’s win but also seek to have the election declared null and void, and even advocate for their own claims to the presidency.

The focal point of contention revolves around the requirement for a candidate to secure 25% of the votes in the FCT and 25% in 24 out of the 36 states. While the respondents have disputed the special status of the FCT, this issue appears pivotal in shaping the Tribunal’s verdict.

The impending judgment carries profound implications for Nigeria’s political landscape and judicial history. The outcome could potentially lead to a re-run of the election, disqualification of candidates, or other significant repercussions. As the nation awaits this pivotal decision, all eyes are on the PEPC, and the subsequent appeals to the Supreme Court are almost certain to follow, adding to the suspense and uncertainty surrounding the case.

Mr Ezomon, Journalist and Media Consultant, writes from Lagos, Nigeria .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *