The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja has ordered Bola Tinubu, the president-elect, to be served with petitions seeking to nullify his election via substituted procedures.
Friday, a three-person court panel led by Judge Joseph Ikyegh ordered that Tinubu’s petitions be served through his political organisation, the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Atiku Abubakar, the candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Peter Obi, the candidate for the Labour Party (LP), have filed separate ex parte applications with the court.
Two individuals accused President-elect Tinubu of evading service of their petitions on purpose.
They informed the court that many attempts to serve the petitions on Tinubu were unsuccessful.
According to the petitioners, the President-elect intentionally evaded them in an effort to thwart their legal obligation to present him copies of the petition.
In reliance on Sections 6(6a) and 36(1) of the modified 1999 Constitution, Section 15 of the Court of Appeal Act, and Paragraph 8 of the First Schedule of the Election Act of 2022, the petitioners sought court intervention.
Both Atiku and Obi supported their ex-parte motions dated March 23 with affidavits of urgency and non-service, while also convincing the court to hear the applications outside of the pre-hearing session of their substantive petitions.
As Atiku’s legal team, led by Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, filed his application on Friday, Mr. Ikechukwu Ezechukwu filed that of Obi and LP.
The Judge Ikyegh-led panel decided, “Having heard the applications by counsel for the petitioners, including the supporting affidavit, the applications are allowed.”
The panel also permitted the Allied Peoples Movement, APM, to serve Tinubu with its own petition using alternative means.
Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, proclaimed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, the winner of the presidential election on March 1, ahead of the 17 other candidates that ran.
Tinubu, according to INEC, received 8,794,726 votes to defeat Atiku, who received 6,984,520 votes, and Obi of the LP, who came in third with 6,101,533 votes.
However, both Atiku and Obi disputed the election result, claiming it had been rigged in Tinubu’s favour.
In addition to alleging that INEC violated its own electoral regulations and guidelines, the petitioners also alleged that Tinubu was not constitutionally entitled to run for president.
In addition, they stated that he did not receive the maximum number of valid votes cast in the election, and that votes credited to the APC candidate were essentially wasted votes due to the prevalence of corrupt practises throughout the poll.
Atiku further claimed that the election commission employed a third-party device to intercept and redirect votes to the APC and its candidate.
Obi and Atiku independently asserted that they had won the election, and they urged the court to either declare them winners or order a new election.
Both petitioners sought the court to order INEC to revoke the Certificate of Return previously awarded to APC candidate Tinubu.
The court had previously ordered INEC to provide Tinubu, who is now out of the country, with access to all the election documents used for the presidential election, so that he may prepare to defend his victory.