Both Atiku and Peter Obi have indicated their intention to appeal against the judgement at the Supreme Court.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, rejected Wednesday’s court judgement declaring Bola Tinubu as duly elected Nigeria’s president.
The Labour Party similarly criticised the judgement on Wednesday, stating that the verdict did not reflect the “desires of the people”.
They have vowed to appeal against the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Court at the Supreme Court, the final court on presidential election disputes.
The five-member panel of the court, led by Haruna Tsammani, in a unanimous ruling on Wednesday, dismissed the petitions of the opposition candidates.
The court cited the inability of Atiku and Mr Obi to prove the substance of their respective cases.
The court equally dismissed the third petition filed by a political party, the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), for being unmeritorious.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja after the pronouncement of the tribunal, the National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Obiora Ifoh, said the judgement did not reflect the law and the desire of the people.
Mr Ifoh said the party would not relent until the people’ will prevail because “justice was not served” in the judgement delivered.
“The Labour Party watched with dismay and trepidation the dismissal of petitions by the five-person panel of the Presidential Election Petition Court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani today, and we reject the outcome of the judgment in its entirety because justice was not served, and it did not reflect the law and the desire of the people.
“Nigerians were witnesses to the electoral robbery that took place on February 25, 2023, which was globally condemned, but the Tribunal, in its wisdom, refused to accept the obvious. What is at stake is democracy, and we will not relent until the people will prevail.”
He said the party would present a more detailed position when it gets the certified true copy of the judgment.
We will appeal at the Supreme Court–Obi, Atiku
Meanwhile, Atiku and Mr Obi also announced that they will challenge the judgement of the tribunal at the Supreme Court
Addressing journalists shortly after the verdict, which lasted 13 hours, Atiku’s lead lawyer, Chris Uche, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said he had already got his client’s instruction to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
“We have our client’s strong instruction to appeal the judgement,” Mr Uche said.
In the same vein, Mr Obi’s lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu, a SAN, expressed the Labour Party’s presidential candidate’s displeasure over the court decision.
“Our clients are dissatisfied with the judgement just delivered. I have the firm instruction of our client to challenge the judgement on appeal,” the senior lawyer said.
Speaking on the difficulties of electoral litigants to prove their suits, Mr Uzoukwu warned that “electoral jurisprudence” would disappear.
“We have to be very careful in this country, otherwise, electoral jurisprudence will disappear.
“When those who contest elections find it difficult to establish their case, they may resort to other means which might not be quite good,” he said.
The panel had announced that the certified true copy of the judgement would be made available to all the parties.
Earlier in the courtroom, Mr Uche requested a copy of the judgement from the panel to enable him to immediately begin the filing process and beat strict deadlines for such filing.
But responding to the request, Mr Tsammani, the head of the five-member panel of the presidential election petition court, said copies of the judgement would be made available to parties in the suit Thursday.
Shettima hails decision
Vice President Kashim Shettima described the court’s decision as the triumph of democracy.
Mr Shettima, who was in court throughout, lauded the judiciary for upholding constitutional democracy.
Conveying Mr Tinubu’s joy over the outcome of the petitions, the Vice President noted that fulfilling their electoral promises had just begun.