Presidential Election Petition Tribunal: Court Has Never Sacked Sitting President Since 1999

Since 1999, there have been a series of Presidential Election Petition Tribunals for almost every election year in Nigeria but none has ever gone against the sitting president.

Based on the aforementioned, it will be a record-breaking development if the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja which is aiming to validate the 2023 presidential election, rules in favour of the oppositions.

Recall that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the presidential election as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). But Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party and Peter Obi of the Labour Party who came second and third respectively, are contesting against the outcome of the election.

Later today, September 6, 2023, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja is expected to make a pronouncement on the outcome of the election.

While the fingers of most Nigerians are crossed, the odds of the judgment going against the sitting president is very slim based on the history of the country from 1999 to date.

Recall that after the inaugural elections of the Fourth Nigerian Republic on February 27, 1999, which Olusegun Obasanjo of the People’s Democratic Party won, Olu Falae who came second, contested against the outcome of the election in court but lost.

In 2003, Obasanjo found himself in the same situation but this time around against Muhammadu Buhari who lost to the then incumbent president. As expected, the presidential election tribunal declared Obasanjo the winner.

In 2007, it was Buhari and Atiku against the late Musa Yar’Adua who beat the two political heavyweights in the presidential race. But as it has always been, Yar’Adua won in court even at the Supreme Court level.

In 2011, Buhari was in court again to challenge the election of former president Goodluck Jonathan. The retired general lost to Jonathan to the level of the Supreme Court.

Interestingly, when Jonathan lost to Buhari of the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 presidential election, he decided not to drag the case to the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal as Buhari went on to rule Nigeria for eight years.

However, Buhari’s run to eight years in power was contested in court after the 2019 presidential election by the second runner-up, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP. But the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal ruled in favour of the sitting president.

Now, the eyes of the world are currently on Abuja where precedent could continue or a new record could be set today, September 6, 2023.

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