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Supreme Court affirms Bola Tinubu as president 

Dismisses Atiku, Obi’s Appeals, and aligns with the Appeal Court earlier ruling on September 6, 2023 on Tinubu

THE scrutiny, in the courts, of the victory of Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the February 25, 2023 presidential election is finally over.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court in Abuja, upheld the September 6, ruling of the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) and affirmed Tinubu as the winner of the election as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The affirmation of Tinubu as president, drew the curtain on the nearly seven months of litigation, which started at the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) in Abuja.

In its ruling, the panel of seven justices dismissed the appeals by Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), seeking for a nullification of the victory.

Atiku Abubakar, (PDP) Bola Tinubu (APC) Peter Obi, (LP)

The petitions had hinged on electoral irregularities, violation of electoral laws, double nomination of Tinubu’s running mate, Kashim Shettima, Tinubu’s ineligibility to run for president, and several issues of perjury, fraud and the 25 per cent votes requirement in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The panel ruled that the appeal by the opposition lacked merit and  thrashed all the grounds of appeal.

In dismissing Abubakar’s appeal, the leader of the panel, Justice Inyang Okoro stated that, “on the whole, having resolved all the issues against the appellant, it is my view that there is no merit in the appeal and it is hereby dismissed.”

The court also made nonsense of Abubakar’s effort to obtain and submit fresh evidence to support his case against Tinubu’s eligibility after he submitted a forged certificate of the Chicago State University and submitted same to the electoral commission.

The Supreme Court refused to admit his evidence from the American varsity, saying the time for the submission of fresh appeals had elapsed.

The apex court, which had always held the sanctity of FCT and the need for every presidential candidate to win 25 per cent of votes cast in Abuja, reversed itself and aligned with the Appeal Court’s ruling that FCT has no special status.

Obi and Abubakar wanted the victory of Tinubu to be nullified on the grounds that he did not get the 25 per cent of votes in the FCT, but PEPC ruled that their petitions were immaterial.

Like the Appeal Court, Justice Okoro said the FCT has no special status and that the claim of 25 per cent was immaterial.

“The judgment of the court below delivered on September 6, 2023 affirming the election of the second respondent (Tinubu) as the duly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is hereby affirmed.”

On the double nomination of Shettima, as pursued by Obi, the court held that the issue had been dealt with in its ruling on May 26, 2023.

He noted: “This issue having been dealt with by this court, this court cannot allow the matter to be re-litigated in this very court. There must be an end to litigation.

“This matter ought not to have come in. When this matter was pending at the trial court, this court delivered that judgment. If you read the judgment of the lower court, they mentioned that the Supreme Court has settled this matter and that should have been the end.

“You now bring this issue of double nomination for us to sit on it and write another judgment, this is not how it should be. This appeal lacks merit and is hereby dismissed.”

Tinubu, Atiku, Obi Absent in court 

The three presidential candidates who contested the February 25, 2023 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar Peter Obi and Bola Tinubu, were absent in court as the Supreme Court delivered judgment.

The seven justices at the Supreme Court were Inyang Okoro, Uwani Abba-Aji, Lawal Garba, Ibrahim Saulawa, Adamu Jauro, Abubakar Tijjani and Emmanuel Akomaye Agim.

Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC)

In September, PEPC rejected completely the petitions of Obi and Atiku and upheld Tinubu’s election, stating that  the petitioners did not successfully prove their allegations against Tinubu’s victory.

The leader of the five man panel, Justice Haruna Tsammani, said, “This petition accordingly lacks merit. I affirm the return of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the duly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The parties are to bear their cost.”

Not satisfied with the ruling, Atiku and Obi approached the Supreme Court to appeal the Tribunal’s judgment.

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