The Presidential Election Tribunal will begin hearing of the petitions filed before it by aggrieved opposition parties against the election of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu today, Monday May 8.
Recall that following the declaration of Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as winner of the February 25 presidential poll, some candidates who were defeated in the race had approached the court to seek redress, alleging that the election was rigged in favour of the ruling party.
Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, his Labour Party counterpart, Pete Obi and others had approached the tribunal to upturn Tinubu’s victory on the grounds of substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the Constitution, the Electoral Act and the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for the conduct of the poll.
Atiku, a former vice president, who hinged his petition on five grounds, is asking the court to order the electoral body to conduct a fresh election following alleged irregularities at polling units during the presidential poll.
Atiku and his party are saying that Tinubu was declared the winner of the election when all results and accreditation data from polling units were yet to be transmitted and uploaded by INEC.
Obi, a former Anambra governor is also alleging various irregularities in the conduct of the election, insisting that Tinubu and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, were not qualified to contest.
Obi also said that Tinubu failed to win the majority of lawful votes and was unable to garner one-quarter of votes in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
During the pre-hearing session today, the Court is expected to provide a full timetable for hearing the substantive petitions filed against the President-elect at the election tribunal.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo had alleged that some foreign lawyers had been flown into the country to stop Tinubu’s inauguration on May 29.
Also, a chieftain of the ruling party, Femi Fani-Kayode alleged in a tweet that former president, Olusegun Obasanjo contracted foreign lawyers for Peter Obi.
In a jeering tweet, the former Aviation Minister captioned a video, “when Peter heard that the Russian lawyer that OBJ had procured for him to represent him at the Election Petition Tribunal was no longer coming. Poor, tired soul! Pls pray for him.”
However, Dr Yunusa Salisu Tanko, Chief Spokesperson, LP presidential campaign council in the already concluded election said that members of Obi’s legal team are all Nigerians.
He said, “As far as I know, the lawyers are all Nigerians, I have not seen any foreign lawyer in the legal team.”
He expressed optimism at the outcome of the process, insisting that the party’s candidate would be making presentations that cannot be faulted.
“From what we are presenting to the court, we are very optimistic that they cannot find fault in our presentation,” he added.