By Charles Igwe
In a pivotal moment for Nigerian democracy, the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has reserved its judgment on the petition filed by Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP) challenging the results of the February 25 presidential election. Amidst mounting anticipation, the court announced that the judgment will be delivered on a date to be disclosed later.
Peter Obi, dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, took legal action to seek a declaration from the tribunal, affirming that he was the rightful winner of the contested presidential poll. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), led by Professor Yakubu Mahmoud, had previously declared Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), as the winner.
The election, marred by accusations of irregularities and lacking integrity, faced criticism from both local and international election observers. The outcome of this case could have far-reaching implications for Nigeria’s electoral processes and democratic principles.
During the final hearing, the court witnessed fervent arguments from the legal representatives of both the petitioners and the respondents. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), the lawyer representing Peter Obi and the LP, confidently asserted that they had presented irrefutable evidence proving their case beyond any reasonable doubt. He passionately urged the court to grant the reliefs sought in the petition.
On the other side, the lawyers representing the respondents vehemently urged the court to dismiss the petition for lacking in merit. Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) represented the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Wole Olanipekun (SAN) defended President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettma, and Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) represented the All Progressives Congress (APC). They argued that the petitioners had failed to substantiate their claims with relevant and substantial evidence.
As Nigerians eagerly await the court’s judgment, the outcome of this case will undoubtedly be a defining moment in Nigeria’s political landscape and could potentially set new precedents for future election disputes.