Election tribunal rejects Peter Obi’s presidential election challenge in Nigeria

Nigeria’s Appeal Court has rejected one challenge to Bola Tinubu’s narrow victory in February’s presidential election.

After a six-hour verdict, they said the appeal by Peter Obi’s Labour Party was without merit and dismissed all his arguments, including fraud.

Their verdict on the challenge by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party is expected shortly.

Despite the election challenge, Mr Tinubu was sworn into office on 29 May.

The election was the most fiercely contested since the end of military rule in 1999, with three strong candidates for the first time. Mr Tinubu won with 37% of votes cast, against 29% for Mr Abubakar and 25% for Mr Obi.

The country was tense before Wednesday’s ruling, with increased security in the capital, Abuja.

Despite warnings from authorities against demonstrations, various political groups gathered outside the courthouse, singing and dancing.

The ruling on the same day he marked 100 days in office will be a huge relief to President Tinubu who will now keep an eye on the Supreme Court where his opponents are likely to appeal against this judgement.

But the unanimous verdict by the judges at the Appeal Court will fill him with confidence. This was already on display as he was not even in the country for Wednesday’s ruling, travelling to India for the G20 summit.

Lead justice Haruna Tsammani, who read the verdict, said “the petitioners failed to prove allegations of corrupt practices and over-voting”.

He said that the petitioners failed to specify the polling units where they alleged that rigging took place.

The court also said the petitioners failed to provide any credible evidence to prove their allegations of suppression of votes in their strongholds.

Another contentious issue was the electronic transmission of results, which the electoral body blamed on technical issues on election day.

The court ruled that the electoral commission was not bound to transmit results electronically and that failure to upload the photographic copies of polling unit results in real time did not invalidate the election.

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