The Organizing Secretary, South East Zone of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dozie Ikedife (jnr) has declared that the verdict of the Election Petition Tribunal did not come to many Nigerians as a surprise.
According to Ikedife, challenging the verdict of the tribunal at the Supreme Court may not produce any different result.
It would be recalled that the five-man presidential election tribunal headed by Justice Haruna Tsammani on Wednesday affirmed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25, 2023 presidential election, Bola Tinubu as the President of Nigeria.
The tribunal dismissed the petitions filed by the Labour Party (LP), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and their presidential candidates, Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar respectively.
The APC chieftain while reacting to the decision of the tribunal to dismiss the petitions against President Tinubu said the oppositions came with a weak case.
Ikedife argued that the opposition had no valid argument in the first place but only wanted to use the social media to intimidate the judiciary.
He added that with the victory of Tinubu and the APC at both the polls and the tribunal, it is highly unnecessary for the opposition to go to the Supreme Court over the matter again.
In his words, “How can you come third and be claiming that you came first on the basis of irregularities as claimed by the opposition in the election? But the winner should be declared. This is a clear indication that if you have to go to court on election matters, you have to go with a solid case, facts and the rule of law not with emotion.
“The rule of law was applied and all we know and suspected all this while was correct, the judgment did not fall below the expectations of Nigerians. It’s just that we have a minority that is very vocal in Nigeria that tries to wreck havoc and pull the system down. The judgment did not fall below the expectations of many Nigerians because Nigerians know that Tinubu scored the highest number of votes in the election and many Nigerians are supporting the government of Bola Tinubu while those in minority are busy talking about emotions rather than facts.
“The Justices of the Appeal Court came out and delivered their judgment based on the rule of law and facts as presented before them after a rigorous process.
“On all grounds the petitioners’ case was very weak. I don’t think anybody had foreknowledge of what the judgment would be. The warnings of the security agencies were normal. On a matter as important as presidential election tribunal it is important for government to make sure that people who lose don’t go to streets to wreck havoc and harass innocent citizens. I don’t think that it is an indication that Tinubu knew what the judgment would be.
“However, any concerning mind, a neutral mind that is not biased will know that the case of the opposition before the tribunal was very weak. How can Peter Obi, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party score 25% in about 16 States of the Federation be declared a winner over Atiku Abubakar who scored 25% in maybe about 22 States and Tinubu who scored about 25% in about 30 States. So, the two petitioners are very weak and the Vice President, Shettima was properly nominated by the APC as against the insinuation of double nomination. There was no way the Appeal Court would have ruled in their favour. The Appeal Court gave a very sound judgment in my opinion.
“Tinubu did not influence the judgment as many may have held. You cannot say that the election was not properly done and be asking to be declared a winner on the same election you said was not properly done. LP was not able to show where the irregularities were. LP was pleading that they scored the highest number of votes but could not say how many votes they got. If you say you have the highest number of votes you should be able to mention the figure.
“The Supreme Court may not say anything different. The Appeal Court judges spent a lot of time, hours, reading the judgment, six to seven hours and that shows that they were trying to be as thorough as possible. The petitioners have the right to go to Supreme Court in areas they erred as far as law is concerned but I don’t see anything different happening at the Supreme Court.”
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