The All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) in Abuja to reject petitions submitted by three opposition parties challenging the victory of its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, in the February 25 election.
Thomas Ojo, a member of the APC legal team in Abuja under the direction of Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, asked the tribunal to reject the petitions in three distinct responses that were submitted to PEPC’s Secretariat on Sunday night.
According to News Agency of Nigeria, three political parties; Action Alliance (AA), Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and Action People’s Party (APP) had, in separate petitions, challenged the emergence of Tinubu as president-elect.
“AA, in the petition, sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, Tinubu and Hamza Al-Mustapha, its factional presidential candidate and former CSO to late Gen. Sani Abacha.
APM, in its petition, joined INEC, APC, Tinubu, Kashim Shettima and Kabir Masari, who stood as vice-presidential placeholder during the primaries before he was substituted with Shettima.
While APP dragged Tinubu, APC and INEC to court as 1st to 3rd respondents respectively.
In the suits, marked CA/PEPC/01/2023, CA/PEPC/04/2023 and CA/PEPC/02/2023, AA and its presidential candidate, APM and APP are respectively challenging the outcome of the presidential election on the grounds of alleged substantial non-compliance with the electoral laws as well as the INEC guidelines.
AA claimed that its candidate, Solomon-David Okanigbuan, was excluded from the presidential poll, based on which the election should be voided, the APM is contending that Tinubu was not qualified to contest the election on the grounds of the alleged double nomination of his vice-presidential candidate.
It is also questioning Tinubu’s candidacy on the grounds of the substitution of the initial placeholder, Kabir Masari, with Shettima.
On its parts, the APP claimed that Tinubu was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the poll by virtue of the provisions of Sections 131(c) and 142 of the Constitution and Section 35 of the Electoral Act 2022.
Responding, APC faulted the claim by the AA that its presidential candidate was excluded from the election, arguing that its known candidate, Mr Al-Mustapha, participated in the election.
It stated that contrary to AA’s claim, Tinubu “was duly elected and returned as the President-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having won the majority of lawful votes cast in the said election devoid of corrupt practices or vices and in substantial compliance with the provisions of Electoral Act 2022 (as amended).”
It argued that the ground on which the AA brought its petition “is not meritorious and facts in support of
same are not availing to validate the petitioners’ claims and/or purported right to present the instant petition.
The APC added that Okanigbuan (listed as the 2nd petitioner “is not the 1st petitioner’s (AA’s validly nominated and sponsored candidate to contest the presidential elections held on Feb. 25.”