By Abiodun OBA
The battle over the outcome of Nigeria’s 2023 presidency is set to reach its head tomorrow.
This is as the Supreme Court will on Thursday, 26, October, deliver judgment in the appeal filed by Atiku Abubakar/the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi/Labour Party (LP).
The appeal is against the court judgment which affirmed the victory of Bola Tinubu of All Progressives Congress, APC in the February 25 poll.
The apex court had reportedly sent notices to lawyers of the different parties that it will deliver its decision on the challenge to the outcome of the presidential election tomorrow.
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, PEPC had on Sept. 6, dismissed Atiku and Obi’s petitions for lacking in merit and affirmed the election of President Bola Tinubu.
However, Atiku and Obi had headed to Supreme Court where their appeals were heard by seven-man panel of justices led by Justice Inyang Okoro last Monday.
In Atiku’s notice of appeal predicated on 35 grounds, he told the apex court that the PEPC erred on the side of law in the judgment delivered by the Chairman of the panel, Justice Haruna Tsammani.
Atiku, through his lead counsel, Mr Chris Uche, SAN told the court that the judgment of the PEPC was a miscarriage of justice.
He argued that the lower court also erred in law when it failed to nullify the presidential election held on Feb. 25, on the grounds of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022.
According to him, by the evidence before the court, INEC conducted the election based on grave and gross misrepresentation contrary to the principles of the Electoral Act 2022, based on the doctrine of legitimate expectation.
Specifically, Atiku asked the Supreme Court to set aside the whole findings and conclusions of the PEPC on the grounds that they did not represent the true picture of the grounds of his petition.
On the other hand, Obi through his lead counsel Mr Levi Uzoukwu, SAN also prayed the apex court to set aside the judgment of the PEPC that dismissed his petition.
Uzoukwu prayed the court to allow the appeal of his client and grant all the prayers sought.
In their responses, counsel to the respondents, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), President Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress, (APC) each urged the court to dismiss the appeals for want of merit and for being frivolous.
Specifically, President Tinubu’s lawyer, Mr Wole Olanipekun, SAN described the appeals as lacking in merit.
Olanipekun specifically told the court that the appeal filed by Atiku was abusive in nature and asked the court to dismiss the appeal.
Mr Mahmoud Yakubu, SAN for INEC and Mr Akin Olujimi similarly asked the panel to dismiss the appeals for want of merit.
Other justices on the panel are Justice Uwani Abaji, Justice Lawal Garba, Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, Justice Adamu Jauro, Justice Tijani Abubakar, and Justice Emma Agim.