The Supreme Court has reserved its judgment on the appeal the candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr. Peter Obi, filed to challenge the outcome of the presidential election held on February 25.
A seven-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Inyang Okoro, okayed the matter for judgment, after all the parties adopted their briefs of argument.
Obi and the LP, through their lawyers led by Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, urged the court to uphold the appeal and set aside the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, that dismissed their petition.
Through their respective lawyers, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, President Bola Tinubu, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, prayed the court to dismiss the appeal for want of merit.
The panel said it would communicate the judgment date to all the parties.
Obi, who came third in the election, had in his 51 grounds of appeal, maintained that the PEPC panel erred in law and thereby reached a wrong conclusion when it dismissed his petition.
He alleged that the panel wrongly evaluated the proof of evidence he adduced before it and occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice when it held that he did not specify polling units where irregularities occurred during the election.
Obi and the LP further faulted the PEPC for dismissing their case on the premise that they did not specify the figures of votes or scores that were allegedly suppressed or inflated in favour of President Tinubu and the APC.
They accused the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led PEPC panel of erring in law when it relied on paragraphs 4(1) (d) (2) and 54 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act 2022 to strike out paragraphs of the petition.
While accusing the lower court of breaching his right to a fair hearing, Obi insisted that evidence of his witnesses were wrongly dismissed as incompetent.
He told the apex court that the panel unjustly dismissed his allegation that INEC uploaded 18, 088 blurred results on its IReV portal.
More so, Obi, alleged that the lower court ignored his allegation that certified true copies of documents that INEC issued to his legal team, comprised of 8, 123 blurred results that contained blank A4 papers, pictures and images of unknown persons, purporting the same to be the CTC of polling units results of the presidential election.
“The learned justices of the court below erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice when they held and concluded that he failed to establish the allegation of corrupt practices and over-voting,” Obi added.
He said it was wrong for the lower court to rely on the legal principle of estoppel to dismiss his contention that INEC bypassed its regulations when it refused to electronically transmit the results of the election from polling units to the IReV.
“The petitioners addicted credible and substantial evidence, both oral and documentary, that proved substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022 by the Respondents in the conduct of the election.
“The court below overlooked that the Respondents failed to disprove the evidence of substantial non-compliance adduced by the petitioners,” the Appellants stated, adding that the panel wrongfully dismissed the issue of double nomination that was raised against Tinubu’s Vice President, Kashim Shettima.
Likewise, Obi insisted that the PEPC overlooked evidence that established that President Tinubu was previously indicted and fined $460,000 in the USA over his involvement in a drug-related case.
“Imposing a fine is not limited to a criminal conviction, as the word, in law, includes a civil forfeiture,” Obi further argued in his appeal.