13 Witnesses, Peter Obi Closes Case Against Tinubu
Presidential candidate Peter Obi concluded his case at the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja against President Bola Tinubu’s election victory. Despite his initial plan to call 50 witnesses, he presented 13 witnesses within the court’s given time. Obi also submitted numerous electoral documents as evidence.
President-elect Tinubu was declared the winner of the 25th February election by Nigeria’s electoral commission, INEC. Dissatisfied with the results, Obi, who ranked third in the election, filed a petition challenging Tinubu’s victory. The petition was submitted 20 days after Tinubu’s declaration as president-elect.
Atiku Abubakar, who came second in the polls representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is also challenging the election outcome separately. He concluded his case on Friday, calling 27 witnesses, despite his initial plan to call 100.
Both opposition candidates contest the presidency, alleging that Tinubu, from the All Progressives Congress (APC), did not win the election.
During the resumed hearing of Obi’s suit, his lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu, called Tanko Yunusa, a member of the Labour Party, as a witness. INEC’s lawyer, Kemi Pinheiro, cross-examined Yunusa. Tinubu’s lawyers, Wole Olanipekun and Lateef Fagbemi, also had the opportunity to question Yunusa.
One of Obi’s legal team members, Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, invited Peter Yari, a presiding officer from the presidential election in Kaduna State, as the 13th witness in the case. Yari confirmed his witness statement on oath but faced difficulties in uploading the election results on INEC’s Results Viewing Portal, as he shared during cross-examination.
After the testimony, Obi’s lawyer, Uzoukwu, stated, “My Lords, that is the petitioners’ case.” The court adjourned further proceedings until 3rd July, when the respondents—Tinubu, INEC, and APC—will present their defense.
Obi obtained 6,101,533 votes, securing third place, while Tinubu received over 8.8 million votes.
Obi’s argument in the suit revolves around the alleged disqualification of Tinubu due to a previous conviction for narcotics trafficking and the dual nomination of Tinubu’s running mate, Kashim Shettima. Obi presented five prayers in court, including alternative options. He called on the court to declare Tinubu and Shettima unqualified to contest the presidential election. Additionally, he requested the court to declare him the winner after deducting alleged illegal votes from Tinubu’s scores. Obi also sought to invalidate Tinubu’s victory based on the failure to win one-quarter of the lawful votes in the Federal Capital Territory. As alternatives, Obi urged the court to cancel the election and order a fresh one or to declare him the president-elect and nullify the election due to non-compliance with electoral laws.
The Presidential Election Petition Court will resume in July to further examine the case, where the respondents will present their defense.