Judgement not a reflection of people’s desires – LP reacts to tribunal ruling

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Judgement not a reflection of people’s desires – LP reacts to tribunal ruling

 

The Labour Party (LP) has rejected the judgement of the presidential election petition tribunal that dismissed the petitions of Peter Obi, its candidate, against the victory of President Bola Tinubu in the February 25 polls.

On Wednesday, the tribunal struck out the various charges filed by Obi and the LP challenging Tinubu’s victory.

Obiora Ifoh, national publicity secretary of the LP, said in a statement that justice was not served in the judgement, adding that it did not reflect the law and desires of the people.

“The Labour Party watched with dismay and trepidation the dismissal of petitions by the five-man panel of the Presidential Election Petition Court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani today and we reject the outcome of the judgment in its entirety because justice was not served and it did not reflect the law and the desire of the people,” the statement reads.

“Nigerians were witnesses to the electoral robbery that took place on February 25, 2023, which was globally condemned but the Tribunal in its wisdom refused to accept the obvious.

“What is at stake is democracy and we will not relent until the people’s will prevail.

“We salute the doggedness of our team of lawyers who fearlessly exposed the wrath in our system. We can only weep for democracy in Nigeria but we refuse to give up on Nigeria.

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“Details of the party’s position will be presented after consultation with our lawyers after the Certified True Copy of the judgement is made available to us.”

The LP urged all lovers of democracy to remain focused and hopeful, adding that a new Nigeria is possible.

Obi who came third in the election and his party had filed a joint petition in March challenging the outcome of the presidential poll.

In their final written address dated July 20, the petitioners insisted that Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima were not qualified to contest the poll.

The petitioners had argued that Tinubu was not eligible to contest the election due to the forfeiture of $460,000 in the US and his failure to secure 25 percent of votes cast in the federal capital territory (FCT).

FCT not superior to any state

But the tribunal in its judgement said the FCT is not treated specially in the election as it is not superior to any state.

The tribunal said the interpretation of the 25 percent votes cast in the  FCT by the LP is “fallacious”.

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“With due respect to counsel to the petitioners, their interpretation of the provision of the constitution, as regards the 25 percent in Abuja, is fallacious if not completely ludicrous,” the court said.

The court held that there is equality of rights irrespective of which part of the country voters prefer to live in.

$460k forfeiture: Obi, LP failed to prove Tinubu was convicted

The tribunal also ruled that the LP failed to prove that Tinubu should have been disqualified from contesting the election on account of a forfeiture agreement.

In 1993, Tinubu surrendered $460,000 to the US government after a Chicago court found that the money was the proceeds of heroin trafficking.

The forfeiture deal was one of the prayers against Tinubu by the LP, Obi and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

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While reading the lead judgment, Haruna Tsammani, chairman of the tribunal, said the evidence (Exhibit P5) tendered by the petitioners showed that it was a civil forfeiture case.

Tsammani held that the petitioners failed to adduce credible evidence to show that Tinubu was arraigned or took a plea or was sentenced or fined in any criminal suit in the US.

 

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