The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 election, Peter Obi has asked the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) to among others, declare him the winner of the election.
In the alternative, Obi wants the court to cancel the election and conduct a fresh one.
These form part of the reliefs being sought in a petition he filed with his party at the court’s secretariat located at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
It was learnt that Obi and LP filed their petition early on Tuesday, with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Bola Tinubu (President-elect), Kashim Shettima (Vice President-elect) and their party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) listed as respondents.
The petitioners are challenging the election on three grounds, including that Tinubu “at the time of the election was not qualified to contest the election.”
They are also contending, among others, that Tinubu “was not duly elected by the majority of the valid votes cast.”
They also argued that Shettima was not qualified to contest the election on the ground of his alleged double nomination as a candidate for Borno Central and as a Vice Presidential candidate.
The petitioners stated that, at the trial of the petition, they “shall contend at the trial that the purported sponsorship of the second and third respondents (Tinubu and Shettima) by the fourth respondent (APC) was rendered invalid by reason of the third respondent knowingly allowing himself to be nominated as the Vice Presidential candidate whilst he was still a Senatorial candidate for the Bomo Central Constituency.
“The petitioners shall further contend that for this reason, the votes purportedly recorded for the second respondent at the contested presidential election were/are wasted votes and ought to be disregarded…”
Obi and LP are praying the court for four sets of alternative prayers.
Alternatively, they want:
*An order cancelling the election and compelling the first respondent (INEC) to conduct a fresh election at which the second, third and fourth respondents (Tinubu, Shettima and APC) shall not participate.
As alternative to the earlier prayers, the petitioners are seeking the set of prayers below:
*That it may be determined that the 2nd respondent was not duly elected by a majority of the lawful votes in the election for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held on 25th February 2023; and therefore, the declaration and return of the 2nd respondent as the winner of the presidential election are unlawful, unconstitutional and of no effect whatsoever.
*That it be determined that based on the valid votes cast at the presidential election of 25 February, 2023, the 1st petitioner scored the highest number of votes cast at the election and 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 the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and ought to be declared and returned as the winner of the Presidential election.
*An order directing the 1st respondent to issue the Certificate of Return to the 1st petitioner as the duly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
That it be determined that the Certificate of Retum wrongly issued to the 2nd respondent by the 1st respondent is null and void and be set aside.
In further alternative to the prayers above, the petitioners are praying:
*That the Presidential election conducted on 25th February, 2023 is void on the ground that the election was not conducted substantially in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended,
*An order cancelling the presidential election conducted on 25th February 2023 and mandating the first respondent to conduct a fresh election for the office of President, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It was learnt on Tuesday that two other political parties – the Action Alliance (AA) and Allied Peoples Movement (APM) have also lodged separate petitions before the court.
In its petition, the AA claimed that its candidate was excluded, based on which the election should be voided
On its part, the APM claimed that Tinubu was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the election by virtue of the provisions of sections 131(c) and 142 of the Constitution and Section 35 of the Electoral Act 2022.
The party argued that the declaration and return of the third respondent (Tinubu) as the duly elected president is invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act 2022.
No date has been set for the hearing of any of the petitions.