President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima are asking the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) to disregard claims by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP) and their presidential candidates, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, that it is mandatory for a candidate to score 25 per cent of votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to be declared president.
Tinubu and Shettima insist that such claims could have been as a result of either their misreading of the Constitution or their miscomprehension of the relevant provisions of the nation’s ground norm.
This is part of their arguments in two sets of final written addresses filed on the petitions by Atiku/PDP and Obi/LP against the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.
It was learnt that the two final addresses were filed on Friday by the Tinubu/Shettima legal team, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN.
Describing both petitions as strange and hollow, Tinubu and Shettima argued that neither of the two sets of petitions provided relevant evidence to support the claims of the plaintiffs that the election was not held in compliance with relevant laws or that the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the APC were not qualified to contest the election.
The defendants said the suits could not even be considered as petitions within the context of the nation’s electoral laws as they were strangely not “complaining about election rigging, ballot box snatching, ballot box stuffing, violence, thuggery, vote buying, voters’ intimidation, disenfranchisement, interference by the military or the police, and such other electoral vices.”
“The crux of their grouse, in their petitions, is that this time around, while the presidential election was peacefully conducted all over the country (as corroborated by their primary witnesses; that is, the Presiding Officers (POs) and the results accurately recorded in the various Form EC8As, some unidentified results were not uploaded electronically to the INEC Election Result Viewing (IREV) portal,” Tinubu and Shettima said.
Continuing, they said: “The other remote contention of the petitioners is that the 2nd respondent (Tinubu) did not score 25 per cent or one-quarter of the votes recorded in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja (FCT); while the petitioners have also tersely alluded to the respondent’s non-qualification, without providing any fact of same in the body of their petitions.”
They submitted that the petitioners failed woefully to establish their claims with adequate and relevant evidence as required by law.
Tinubu said he won the election with 8,794,726 votes ahead of Atiku/PDP, “who were his closest rival, though trailing at a distance with the total of 6,984,520 votes,” and Obi/LP “came a distant third with a total of 6,101,533 votes.”
Besides, the defendants said while they polled more than 25 per cent of the total votes cast in 29 states, Atiku secured same in 21 states, while Obi got 25 per cent in only 16 states and the FCT.
They added that it was ironical that while Atiku, who scored 16.13 per cent of the votes cast in the FCT, as against Tinubu’s19.76 per cent score in the same territory, is not only seeking to be declared the winner of the election, he also wants Tinubu’s victory voided on the grounds that he (Tinubu) did not score 25 per cent of the votes cast in the FCT.
Citing previous decisions of the Supreme Court on the status of the FCT, the respondents said: “There is no punctuation (comma) in the entire Section 134(2)(b) of the Constitution, particularly, immediately after the ‘states’ and the succeeding ‘and’ connecting the Federal Capital Territory with the states.
“In essence, the reading of the subsection has to be conjunctive and not disjunctive, as the Constitution clearly makes it so.
“Pressed further by this constitutional imperative, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, is taken as if it is the 37 state, under and by virtue of Section 299 of the Constitution.
“With much respect, any other interpretation different from this will lead to absurdity, chaos, anarchy and alteration of the very intention of the legislature.
“Our courts have always adopted the purposeful approach to the interpretation of our Constitution, as exemplified in a host of decisions, including but not limited to Nafiu Rabiu v. State (1980) 12 NSCC 291 at 300-301, Marwa v Nyako (2012) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1296) 199, 306 — 307, ADH Limited v AT Limited (2006) 10 NWLR (Pt. 986) 635, 649, Awolowo v. Shagari (supra), Abraham Adesanya v. President, Federal Republic of Nigeria (1981) 12 NSCC 146 at 167-168; A.G Abia v. A.G Federation (2002) 6 NWLR (Pt. 763) 265 at 365.
The petitioners themselves admit this much in paragraph 107 of their petition, where they listed the FCT as the 37 state, after listing the States mentioned in section 3(1), as numbers 1 to 36.”
They said it was an irony that the LP candidate, who came a distant third in the election, wanted to be declared the winner of the election.
The Obi/LP petition, according to the respondents, was hinged on frivolous claims that the election results were not electronically uploaded to the IREV; that it was not conducted in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 (EA); and that the Tinubu/Shettima ticket was unlawful because Shettima was not properly nominated.
They added that Atiku and Obi also based their petitions, riddled with contradicting and conflicting claims, on “some fishing expeditions relating to some purported forfeiture proceedings in the United States of America (US).”
They faulted the petitioners claim about the qualifications of Tinubu and Shettima, arguing that not only did the petitioners fail to prove their allegations both respondents provided ample evidence to establish that they were eminently qualified to stand for election for the office of the president and vice president.
Tinubu and Shettima added:”Largely, the election went very peacefully, under a free and fair atmosphere, without proof of violence, ballot box snatching and such other electoral irregularities and vices; a state of affairs to which the petitioners’ witnesses all testified.
“In fact, the election was conducted in substantial compliance with the principles of the Electoral Act, the INEC Regulations and Manuals for the election.
“Coincidentally, a host of the witnesses called by the petitioners corroborated the unstable and/ or unpredictable nature of technological devices/applications within the Nigerian terrain.”
Tinubu and Shettima argued that both petitions are not only without any form or substance, they are characterised by repetitions, contradictions and confusion.
They noted that the petitioners cynically alleged non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, on the flimsy ground that the polling unit results were not electronically transmitted and uploaded on the IREV (where collation did not take place); their witnesses admitted that manual collation took place from the polling unit level to the national level.
They added that while petitioners claimed that the Tinubu did not emerge winner with the highest number of lawful votes cast, throughout the petitions and during trial, “at no portion did they state what they considered as the lawful votes cast for both parties and the number of unlawful votes added to the respondent’s, or the number of votes unlawfully deducted from their own votes.”
While describing the evidence by the 27 witnesses called by Atiku/PDP and the 13 by Obi/LP as unreliable, Tinubu and Shettima argued that their sole witness successfully established their case.
They added that their sole witness, Senator Opeyemj Bamidele (the Senate Majority Leader), “demonstrated undoubted competence to testify in respect of the subjects submitted before the court, including issues surrounding the US proceedings, himself being a US practicing attorney and counselor at law.
“Also, being a law maker, who participated in the enactment of the Electoral Act, 2022, he stated the position and intention of the legislature, particularly, as it relates to the appropriate mode of transmission as well as transfer and collation of results.”
In rounding off the written address on the Obi petition, the head of the respondents’ legal team, Chief Olaonipekun, SAN, said: “In concluding this address, may we draw your Lordships’ attention to the memorable pronouncement of the Supreme Court in Elias v. Omo-Bare (1982) 5 SC 13 at 22, where Udo-Udoma, JSC, opined thus: “If there was ever any case completely starved of evidence, this is certainly one.
“This case clearly cries to high heavens in vain to be fed with relevant and admissible evidence. The appellant woefully failed to realise that judges do not act like the oracles of Ife, which is often engaged in crystal gazing and thereafter would proclaim a new Oba in succession to a deceased Oba.
“Judges cannot perform miracles in the handling of civil claims, and least of all manufacture evidence for the purpose of assisting a plaintiff win his case.”
“In every material particular, the above excerpt from the Supreme Court judgement describes this petition in very clear terms.”
Credit: The Nation
US Court order upsets Tinubu, as he files motion to stall issuance of his CSU records to Atiku
Upset by the United States Magistrate Court’s order directing Chicago State University to release his academic records to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Abubakar Atiku, President Bola Tinubu on Thursday switfully filed an emergency application with the District Court to stall implementation the order’s .
The magistrate court had given Chicago University 48 hours ending Thursday evening Chicago time to release Tinubu’s records to Atiku.
However, Tinubu, apparently rattled by the court order, alleged in a fresh application on Thursday that Judge Jeffrey Gilbert breached the constitution by acting as a final court in such matters of discovery.
The anxious President Tinubu contended that a magistrate should only report and recommend to the district judge in such matters.
Tinubu further argued that the Magistrate court had issued what seemed to be a final order on September 19, demanding immediate compliance starting on September 21.
“Intervenor asks this court to enter an immediate order delaying the effect of the Magistrate’s order, at least until Monday, September 25, 2023, so the court may fully consider both the scope of the Magistrate’s authority to issue the order without review and the issue of whether the Magistrate’s order was a correct application of the law to the facts presented.”
He requested the court to delay the effect of the Magistrate’s order until September 25, 2023, to fully consider the order’s scope and its application of the law to the facts presented.
In the motion filed by his lawyer, Mr Carmichael, Tinubu emphasised that other courts, considering the authority of Magistrate to rule on Section 1782 applications, opted for issuing reports and recommendations.
“Intervenor raises a substantial question about the Magistrate’s authority to resolve the Section 1782 petition and order immediate compliance by Chicago State University.
“‘If Chicago State University complies with the Magistrate’s order prior to this Court having an opportunity to review the order, Intervenor will suffer prejudice because the information will have been disclosed and effective relief will be impossible.
“The order requires the documents to be produced today. (Dkt. 40, pg. 31.)
“By contrast, Tinubu maintained that he has at least until September 27 to submit material, if not longer, and, as the Magistrate commented, the “tight timeframe” was created “in no small part” by applicant. (Dt. 40, pg. 28.)
“That leaves enough time for the Court to review the ruling and, if discovery were permitted to proceed, for the applicant to still obtain the information sought.
“Due to the timing for compliance by Chicago State University — later today ~ Intervenor is filing this motion separately from its challenge to the Magistrate’s ruling on the application. Intervenor intends to file by the end of the day, a substantive brief addressing the errors in the magistrate’s decision.
“Intervenor requests that the Court defer compliance by Chicago State University until Monday, which will provide both an opportunity to review the Magistrate’s ruling, and, if ordered, to allow the discovery to proceed before September 27.
“For example, a production could accur on Tuesday morning, be followed by a deposition in the afternoon, and a court reporter can provide a rough or real-time transcript that evening.
“Counsel for intervenor, Christopher W. Carmichael communicated with counsel for applicant Alexandre de Gramont, who opposes the motion.
“Wherefore, intervenor prays that the court grant the emergency motion and delay compliance with the magistrate’s September 19, 2023 order until the end of the day Monday, September 25, 2023”, the documents read.
Tinubu’s motion was seen by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the former Vice President, Mr. Paul Ibe, who confirmed its receipt.
Ibe, however, viewed Tinubu’s motion as a delay tactic to stall the release of academic records before the Supreme Court commences hearing of Atiku’s appeal against the September 6 judgement of the President Election Petition Court.
“It should be now obvious even to the blind that Tinubu is hiding something in his records at the Chicago State University, and even elsewhere. I do hope whatever it may be, it will not be of a scope that will give Nigerians a heart attack. Nigerians will soon see the true position of Atiku on the records of Tinubu at CSU. It is just a matter of time,” Atiku’s aide said.
PEPC’s judgment was erroneous, Atiku tells Supreme Court
***fails to recognize ‘Doctrine of Legitimate Expectation’
***Says justices exhibited bias through uncomplimentary remarks
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the last presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is asking the Supreme Court to overturn the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court having failed to take into cognisance the “Doctrine of Legitimate Expectation” regarding the failure of INEC to conduct the election in accordance with its own guidelines and the Electoral Act, 2022.
The doctrine of Legitimate Expectation was first developed in English law as a ground of judicial review in administrative law to protect a procedural or substantive interest when a public authority rescinds from a representation made to a person.
In Nigeria, the doctrine of legitimate expectation demands that a public authority shall respect and apply its stated position or sustained practice in exercising its powers on members of the public.
However, Atiku in his Notice of Appeal dated September 18, and filed by his lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, submitted that the failure of the tribunal to apply the said doctrine is enough ground for the apex court to set aside the entire decision of the lower court.
Specifically in ground seven of his Notice of Appeal, the former Vice President submitted that, “the lower Court erred in Law when it failed to nullify the presidential election held on February 25, 2023 on the ground of noncompliance with the Electoral Act 2022, when by evidence before the Court, the 1st Respondent (INEC) conducted the election based on very grave and gross misrepresentation contrary to the principles of the Electoral Act 2022, based on the “doctrine of legitimate expectation”.
While pointing out that the Electoral Act 2022, made the use of Bi-modal Verification Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC’s Results Viewing (IReV) portals mandatory in the conduct of the 2023 general elections, adding that, INEC through its Chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmood, publicly gave guarantees, undertakings, clear and unambiguous representations to candidates and political parties, that polling units results were mandatorily required to be electronically transmitted or transferred directly by the Presiding Officers, he argued that, “there was no evidence before the lower Court that the 1st Respondent altered its aforesaid Guidelines and Regulations to remove the said requirement of electronic transmission of the results of the election directly from the polling units to the 1st Respondent’s Collation System”.
It is the submission of Atiku that, INEC “conducted the said Presidential Election based on the gross misrepresentation to the Appellants and the general voting public that the Presiding Officers were going to electronically transmit the results of the said election directly from the polling units to the 1st Respondent’s Collation System.
He added that, “Contrary to the above unambiguous representations, undertakings and guarantees, the 1st Respondent neither deployed the electronic transmission of election results nor the electronic collation system in the said election, sabotaging the raison d’etre for the enactment of the new Electoral Act 2022 and the introduction of the technological innovations.
“Rather than hold the 1st Respondent (INEC) as a public institution accountable to the representations that it made pursuant to its statutory and constitutional duties which created legitimate expectation on the part of the Appellant’s, the lower court wrongly exonerated the 1st Respondent of any responsibility by holding that the use of the technological innovations to guarantee transparency was not mandatory”.
It was the appellant’s further position that the February 25 poll was “conducted based on very grave and gross misrepresentation and was therefore oppressive to the Appellants and thus not free and fair, and not in accordance with the principles of the Electoral Act 2022, and not protected by the presumption of regularity, as well as the preamble and the fundamental objectives and directive principles of State Policy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) adopted by the lower court.
“The grave misrepresentation negated the legal presumption of official regularity in favour of the 1st Respondent.
Besides, Atiku told the apex court that INEC as a public institution is not above the law, and not entitled to breach its own regulations with impunity, after clear and unambiguous representations upon which parties have placed reliance and entitled to legitimate expectation.
“The said election ought to have been nullified by reason of the said gross misrepresentation by a public institution based upon the “doctrine of legitimate expectation” as applied by the Supreme Court as a policy Court….”
Accusing the tribunal of bias, the appellants stated in grounds 34 that the “lower Court erred in law in its use of disparaging words against the Appellants in its judgment evincing bias against the Appellants as Petitioners and thereby violating their right to fair hearing and occasioning grave miscarriage of justice.
The justices in their verdicts, while discountenancing the arguments and contentions of the Appellants used expressions such as ‘ludicrous’ (page 721 of the judgment), ‘clever by half’ (page 557 of the judgment), ‘dishonourable practice’ (page
507 of the judgment), ‘smuggle’ (page 557), ‘fallacious’ (page 721
of the judgment); ‘foul play’ (page 560 of the judgment), ‘cross the
line of misconception’ (page 644 of the judgment); ‘collect evidence from the market’ (page 765 of the judgment); ‘those who are not
used to reading preambles’ (page 726 of the judgment); ‘hollowness in the argument of the Petitioners’ (page 727 of the judgment); etc.
It is the position of the appellants that the choice of words and expressions by the lower court shows the
lower Court’s contempt and disdain for the Appellants.
“The lower court failed to use civil, modest, moderate, and temperate language that is befitting of the exalted position of the court in line with the Revised Code for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, promulgated by the National Judicial Council.
“The words against the Appellants in the judgment evince a disposition in the mind of the lower court that was far from objective, which approach demonstrated bias and infringement to the Appellants’ right to fair hearing.
“The Appellants were entitled to approach the Court for the
ventilation of their grievances, which court was set up as the
Presidential Election Petition Court, solely to receive petitions arising from the presidential election.
“The right to present an election petition in respect of a presidential election is a right granted by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2022, which right the Appellants merely exercised.
“The use of the said words and expressions substantially affected the lower court’s consideration of the Appellants’ case, peremptorily
striking out their witness statements on oath, their exhibits, their pleadings, and discountenancing the evidence of their witnesses, and thus occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice”, the appellants submitted.
Recall that the five-member panel of the tribunal had on September 6 upheld the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
The panel in a unanimous decision held that Atiku, as well as other petitioners against the February 25 presidential election, were unable to substantiate their allegations against the poll conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Specifically, the panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani in their judgments held that, the documentary and oral evidences presented before them could not prove claims of irregularities, corrupt practices, non-compliance amongst other claims for which Atiku had asked the court to void Tinubu’s election.
Dissatisfied, Atiku claiming that the lower tribunal erred in law in affirming the outcome of the February 25 poll, has amongst others asked the Supreme Court to set aside the entire decision of the tribunal.
Atiku, in addition, prayed the apex court to after voiding Tinubu’s election, declare him as the authentic winner of the poll.
Atiku, who came second in the poll, is claiming that he and not Tinubu actually won the majority of the lawful votes cast at the election, but the electoral umpire, however, manipulated the process in favour of Tinubu.
Nasarawa Guber: Agabi knocks INEC over inability to defend Sule’s purported victory
from Daniel Abel, Lafia
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been heavily criticized over its inability to adequately defend election results in Nasarawa State’s gubernatorial petition case that allegedly produced Gov Sule as winner
The Petitioners contended that the election irregularities favored the wrong candidate.
In a dramatic turn of events during the adoption of written addresses, Council to PDP candidate, Kanu Agabi SAN indicated that INEC accepted wrongdoing when the defense lawyer, Ishiaku Dikko, SAN acknowledged that both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor Sule were also shortchanged during the March 18 governorship election
He spoke while shedding more light on their contribution to the incorrect declaration of the winner.
In the words of Agabi, INEC failed to defend the victory they declared as they heaped their claims on the ambiguity of collated figures while ignoring INEC records, arguing that their client was also rigged of their votes by INEC at other polling units different from the ones under contention by the petitioners.
“With INEC having concluded its final address on a quote “what is good for the goose is good for the gander,”To this, Counsel to the Petitioners opined that the INEC is positioning to be both “goose and gander.”
The petitioners are challenging the results of several electoral wards, including Gayam, Ciroma, Azara, Kanje/Abuni, Ashige, and more, citing inflation of votes in favor of the 2nd and 3rd respondents, as well as wrongful vote cancellations.
To support their case, the petitioners presented evidence from all agents in the disputed wards and copies of Form EC8A (Polling Unit Results) obtained from INEC, as well as duplicate copies issued to party agents.
Based on the polling unit results before the tribunal, Hon. David Emmanuel Ombugadu emerges as the victor in the last gubernatorial election in Nasarawa State.
The petitioners argue that the Form EC8B, D, and E presented by the respondents differ from the foundational sources of election data, including Form EC8A series, BVAS Machines Reports, and CTC IRev Portal Reports.
According to sources, the ongoing controversy raises significant questions about the integrity of the election process in Nasarawa State, as the tribunal continues to assess the evidence presented by both parties members of the public are waiting for the verdict of the Tribunal.
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