THE Action Peoples Party (APP) had withdrawn its petition that sought to nullify the declaration of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Tinubu, as the winner of the 2023 presidential election.
The APP had in a petition filed on March 19, alleged that the results of the presidential election were manipulated to favor Tinubu in 11 states of the Federation.
The party also accused the President-elect of “corruptly inducing” electoral officers to falsify results at local government and state collation centers in Rivers and 10 other states.
However, during the ongoing pre-hearing of the petition on Wednesday, May 11, the party’s counsel, Obed Agu, requested an order from the court to withdraw the petition.
Agu, who cited paragraph 29(1)(2) and (3) of the Schedule for election petitions as the basis for the withdrawal notice, also asked the tribunal to strike out or dismiss the petition since it had been withdrawn.
“My Lords, we are seeking an order of this court for leave to withdraw this petition filed on March 19,” he said.
“As well as an order striking out or dismissing the petition, same having been withdrawn.”
The five-member panel of the court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, did not oppose the application, including Tinubu’s lead counsel, Wole Olanipenkun, who commended the APP for its decision.
Lead counsel for the APC, Lateef Fagemi, also commended the APP for its decision, urging other parties whose petitions against the outcome of the presidential election are still pending before the court to emulate the party’s decision.
“We commend the petitioners for doing the right thing. Let those who have not done so, do so immediately,” he said.
“The flight is moving. We want to let them know that we commend them and we are not asking for cost.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) lawyer, A. B. Mahmood, did not oppose the application either.
On Monday, May 8, during the first pre-hearing sitting of the tribunal, the Action Alliance (AA) also withdrew its petition against Tinubu’s election victory without giving any reasons for the decision.
The main ground of AA’s petition was the claim of wrongful exclusion of David Okanigbuan, the party’s candidate, by INEC.
INEC had declared Tinubu as the winner of the controversial February 25 presidential election.
According to INEC, Tinubu secured 8,794,726 votes, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar had 6,984,520, while the Labour Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, polled 6,101,533.
The PDP and LP candidate rejected the result and have approached the tribunal with separate petitions to challenge Tinubu’s victory.
They alleged that Tinubu was not qualified to contest the election and that he failed to secure the majority of lawful votes cast at the poll.
They are also contesting that Tinubu’s running mate, Kashim Shettima, had a double nomination contrary to the Electoral Act.
Meanwhile, the tribunal which is hearing Obi’s case today, have warned all parties in the petition to avoid unnecessary technicalities and address the substance of their petitions.
Justice Tsammani, who gave the warning, said the tribunal is “determined to look at the matter dispassionately and give justice to whoever deserves justice.”
He warned parties against unnecessary applications that could delay proceedings, adding that the tribunal would consider the substance of each case over technicalities so that “whoever leaves here will be satisfied that justice has been done.
“Election is time-bound; let us not waste unnecessary time. Let us cooperate with each other so that everyone will leave here satisfied. Avoid unnecessary technicalities. We are determined to look at all the matters brought before us. Let us look at what is good for our country and avoid time-wasting applications,” he said.