The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar has asked the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) to declare him winner or order a rerun between him and the ‘President-elect’, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had announced Tinubu as the winner of the election after which it declared him ‘President-elect’.
Atiku, who came second in the election, filed his petition to challenge the outcome of the poll at the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja at about midnight on Tuesday.
In his petition before the tribunal, he alleged that the election was characterised by various irregularities including the non-qualification of the APC candidate.
Atiku also said that Tinubu failed to win the majority of the lawful votes cast in the election, and just as he could not secure one-quarter of the lawful votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
He told the court, “The Petitioners shall further contend that for any candidate to be declared winner of the presidential election in which more than two candidates are contesting, such a candidate must have the highest number of votes cast at the election, and he must have not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the states in the Federation and at least one quarter (25%) of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“The 2nd Respondent having not scored 25% of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja ought not to have been declared winner of the Election by the 1st Respondent.”
He also alleged that the election was conducted in substantial non-compliance with the provision of the law.
The PDP candidate, therefore, urged the court to either declare him the president-elect, in the belief that he scored the majority of the lawful votes during the election, or nullify the entire election and order a fresh election.
These are the key reliefs being sought in the petition filed for him and the PDP at the PEPC secretariat on Tuesday night by their team of lawyers led by Joe Gadzama (SAN).
Listed as respondents in the petition marked: CA/PEPC/05/2023 are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Tinubu and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Atiku and the PDP are challenging the election on four grounds.
They are that: “The election of the 2nd respondent (Tinubu) is invalid by reason of noncompliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.
“The election of the 2nd respondent Is invalid by reason of corrupt practices. The 2nd respondent was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election.
“The 2nd respondent was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the election.
Atiku and the PDP are praying the court for the following:
“That it may be determined that the 2nd respondent was not duty elected by the majority of lawful votes cast in the election and therefore the declaration and return of the 2nd respondent by the 1st respondent as the winner of the presidential election conducted on the 25th day of February, 2023 is unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, undue, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
“That it may be determined that the return of the 2nd respondent by the 1st respondent was wrongful, unlawful, undue, null and void having not satisfied the requirements of the Electoral Act 2022 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which mandatorily requires the 2nd Respondent to score not less than one quarter (25 percent) of the lawful votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the states in the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“That it may be determined that the 2nd respondent was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the said election. That it may be determined that the 1st petitioner having scored the majority of lawful votes cast at the Presidential election of Saturday, 25th February 2023, be returned as the winner of the said election and be sworn in as the duly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In the alternative, Atiku is seeking an “order directing the 1st respondent to conduct a second election (run-off) between the 1st petitioner and the 2nd respondent.
“In further alternative, that the election to the office of the President of Nigeria held on 25th February 2023 be nullified and a fresh election (re-run) ordered.”