Nigerian opposition rejects presidential tribunal ruling confirming Tinubu as president to appeal judgement at the nation’s apex court
Nigeria’s main opposition candidates will appeal a tribunal ruling that affirmed Bola Tinubu’s victory in a disputed presidential election in February that they claim was marred by irregularities, their lawyers said.
Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP)’s Peter Obi, who came second and third respectively, had asked the court to cancel the election, alleging everything from vote fraud to failure by the electoral agency to post results electronically. They wanted Tinubu to be disqualified.
But the Presidential Election Petition Court on Wednesday dismissed their petitions point-by-point in a judgment that lasted more than 11 hours.
Abubakar Atiku addressing the press in the nation’s capital Abuja
The ruling followed a pattern seen in previous election years in Africa’s most populous country, where no legal challenge to the outcome of a presidential election has succeeded since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999.
“I am therefore here to tell you that, though the judgment of the court yesterday is respected, it is a judgment that I refuse to accept. I refuse to accept the judgment because I believe that it is bereft of substantial justice,” Atiku said at press conference on X, formerly called Twitter.
“Our legal team has already received our firm instruction to file an appeal against the decision. I shall not relent in the quest for justice, not necessarily for myself but indeed for our teeming supporters all over the country whose mandate to us at the polls was regrettably truncated by INEC.” Obi remarked at a press conference.
An appeal at the Supreme Court should be filed within 14 days from the date of the tribunal ruling. The apex court then has 60 days to hear the case and make its ruling.
Atiku’s lead counsel, Chris Uche earlier said “we have not received justice” and would also file an appeal, adding “the struggle continues.”
Akowe with reports from Abuja with materials from X and Reuters
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