Peter Obi Illegally Sponsored As LP candidate, APC Tells Tribunal
The All Progressives Congress (APC), on Monday, prayed the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja to dismiss the petition filed by the Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, against the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the Prresident-elect in the Feb. 25 election.
The APC, the 4th respondent, urged the PEPC to reject the petition in its notice of preliminary objection marked: CA/PEPC/03/2023 and filed at PEPC’s Secretariat, Monday night, by Thomas Ojo, a member of the party’s legal team led by Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, in Abuja.
The party asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost on the grounds that it lacked merit and was frivolous.
The APC prayed the court to dismiss the suit on the ground that Obi, the 1st petitioner, lacked requisite locus standi to institute the petition, because he was not a member of LP at least 30 days to the party’s presidential primary to be validly sponsored by the party.
It said: “The 1st petitioner (Obi) was a member of PDP until May 24, 2022.
“1st petitioner was screened as a presidential aspirant of the PDP in April 2022.
“1st petitioner participated and was cleared to contest the presidential election while being a member of the PDP.
“1st petitioner purportedly resigned his membership of PDP on May 24, 2022 to purportedly join the 2nd petitioner (Labour Party) on May 27, 2022.
“2nd petitioner conducted its presidential primary on May 30, 2022 which purportedly produced 1st petitioner as its candidate, which time contravened Section 77(3) of the Electoral Act for him to contest the primary election as a member of the 2nd petitioner.”
NAN reports that Obi, the 1st petitioner, and LP, the 2nd petitioner, had sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Tinubu, Sen. Kashim Shettima and APC as 1st to 4th respondents respectively.
The petitioners are seeking the nullification of the election victory of Tinubu and Shettima in the Feb 25 presidential poll.
NAN reports that while former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came second with 6,984,520 votes in the election; Obi came third with 6,101,533 votes.
Abubakar and PDP are also challenging the outcome of the poll.
According to APC, Paragraphs 60 — 77 of the petition are non-specific, vague and/or nebulous and thereby incompetent contrary Paragraph 4(1)(d) of the Ist Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2022; It said that the allegations of non-compliance must be made distinctly and proved on polling unit basis but none was specified or provided in any of the paragraphs of the petition.
“Paragraphs 59-60 of the petition disclose no identity or particulars of scores and polling units supplied in 18,088 units mentioned therein,” it added.
The party, therefore, argued that the tribunal lacked the requisite jurisdiction to entertain pre-election complaints embedded in the petition as presently constituted, among other arguments.
The APC urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost as same was devoid of any merit and founded on frivolity.