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Supreme Court brings down curtain on 2023 presidential election disputes

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Supreme Court brings down curtain on 2023 presidential election disputes
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The Supreme Court will today October 26 deliver the final judgment on the two appeals challenging the victory of President Bola Tinubu at the February 25 disputed poll.

This morning, the court will rule on the appeals brought by Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) both of whom are contesting Tinubu’s election.

Atiku and Obi are contesting the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) proclamation of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the victor of the February 25 presidential election.

They both filed separate appeals at the apex court challenging the judgement of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) which had dismissed their petitions and affirmed Tinubu’s electoral victory.

Today’s verdict will be the final court decision on the disputes over the election. It marked the end of a two-stage judicial battle, the first part of which was decided by the presidential election court in favour of Mr Tinibu, which was further challenged at the Supreme Court. The court will now give the final say on the validity or otherwise of Mr Tinubu’s election.

Nigeria’s electoral commission, INEC, had declared Mr Tinubu the winner of the election on 1 March.

However, Atiku and Mr. Obi, who came second and third, respectively, questioned INEC’s conduct of the polls; as they alleged widespread electoral fraud and the ineligibility of Mr Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima to vie for the presidency.

READ ALSO: Just in: Supreme Court to decide Tinubu’s fate on Thursday

A five-member panel of the Presidential Election Petition Court headed by Haruna Tsammani adjudicated the suits for three months before dismissing them on 6 September.

The court held that Atiku and Mr Obi failed to prove their separate claims against Mr Tinubu and INEC.

Dissatisfied, the pair headed to the Supreme Court, the final arbiter on presidential election dispute in Nigeria, where they urged the court to set aside the presidential election court decision on account of miscarriage of justice.

A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court headed by John Okoro heard Atiku and Mr Obi’s appeals on Monday, and set them down for judgment.

At the final hearing of the case on Monday, Atiku’s lawyer, Chris Uche tendered fresh evidence before the Supreme Court to prove his client’s case against the President.

Specifically, Atiku through his lawyer, Chris Uche, accused Mr Tinubu of forgery concerning the president’s academic records from the Chicago State University.

After a rigorous suit in the United States, Atiku obtained Mr Tinubu’s academic records which he has now filed at the Supreme Court to prove his forgery allegation which was rejected by the presidential election court, against Mr Tinubu.

On his part, Mr Obi’s lawyer, Livy Uzoukwu, urged the Supreme Court to nullify the presidential election court decision and declare Mr Obi the winner of the election.

However, the president’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun, INEC’s lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud, and APC’s Akin Olujinmi, asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeals and affirm Mr Tinubu’s victory.

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