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Peter Obi and Labour Party Wrap Up Case Against President Tinubu’s Election

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ABUJA, Nigeria — On Friday, June 23, 2023, the opposition leader, Peter Obi, and his Labour Party, LP, closed their case in the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, challenging the legitimacy of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s election.

The case, bearing the reference CA/PEPC/03/2023, disputes the 2023 general election results, which saw Tinubu ascend to the Nigerian presidency on May 29.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, President Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, are listed as respondents in the petition. The court allocated a three-week window for the petitioners to substantiate their case.

Initially, the petitioners announced intentions to summon fifty witnesses. However, as proceedings came to a close on Friday, June 23, 2023, only thirteen witnesses had been called.

Among those who testified were Yunusa Tanko, a Labour Party Situation Room member and the petitioners’ twelfth witness.

Under cross-examination by INEC’s counsel, Kemi Pinheiro SAN, Tanko declared that the election results provided to them were mutilated and unreadable.

When inquired by Wole Olanipekun SAN, counsel for Tinubu and Shettima, regarding the number of party agents the LP deployed during the elections, Tanko stated over 130,000, relative to the 176,974 polling units throughout the country.

Tanko, when probed about the twelve states where LP claimed victory and the implications for Atiku Abubakar, who was announced in second place, emphasized that he contested the entire election results. “After four months of the election, the results are still being downloaded from the IreV,” he lamented.

Lateef Fagbemi SAN, representing the APC, questioned Tanko on why he did not divulge the number of illicit votes.

Tanko responded that their expert had already testified regarding the number of contested votes.

Documents and judgments from the Federal High Court, with reference FHC/ABJ/1454/2022, delivered on January 23, 2023, concerning LP vs INEC were presented through the witness.

Additionally, Peter Yari, an ad-hoc staff member of INEC, offered his evidence in court as the thirteenth witness.

Following the final testimony, Livy Uzoukwu SAN, counsel for the petitioners, declared to the court that they were closing their case.

The respondents sought an adjournment until the following week to allow for the celebration of the upcoming Sallah holiday with their families.

The five-member panel, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, agreed and adjourned the case until July 3, 2023, for the respondents to commence their defense.

As both parties await the next phase of this landmark case, the nation watches eagerly to see how it will shape the political landscape of Nigeria.

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