Tribunal: Atiku's Witness Reveals How Results Were Allegedly Changed at Collation Centres; Live Updates

Tribunal: Atiku's Witness Reveals How Results Were Allegedly Changed at Collation Centres; Live Updates

On Monday, May 8, the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja commenced pre-hearing for the petitions that contest the results of the February 25th presidential election.

This event holds significant importance as it could potentially shape the outcome of the election dispute.

Atiku/Tinubu/Peter Obi 2023/Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Pre-Hearing/Live Updates
The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja commences pre-hearing. Photo credits: KOLA SULAIMON/AFP, PATRICK MEINHARDT/AFP, PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP
Source: Getty Images

Stay tuned for Legit.ng's updates on the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal proceedings.

Friday's proceedings: Atiku's 3rd witness speaks

Atiku'sthird witness, Silas Joseph Onu, is a legal practitioner who was the PDP state collation agent for Ebonyi state.

Under cross-examination, the witness said he visited most polling units, but was not present at all the 2,964 polling units in the state.

Friday's proceedings: Atiku's second witness

Atiku's second witness, Nicholas Msheliza, told the court he is a businessman and a politician. He was the PDP Borno State collation officer.

Under cross-examination, the witness confirmed to the court that agents of the PDP at polling units performed their jobs “very well” — where they were allowed to do so.

The witness also told the court that results were changed at the ward collation centres. Asked further if he indicates the results he feels are the actual scores from the field in his witness statement, he said no.

Summary of Friday's proceedings: Atiku vs APC, Tinubu, INEC

Atiku's lead counsel, Chris Uche (SAN), said he had three witnesses to call. He proceeded to call his first witness, one Hon. Sani Idris Kutigi.

The first witness told the court he is a former member of the House of Representatives and a businessman. He was a state collation officer for Niger State in the February 25 presidential election.

Under cross-examination, the witness said he is a registered voter, and he voted during the presidential election. Asked if he is familiar with the process, the witness said yes.

He also confirmed to the court that the PDP has polling agents in all the polling units, who performed their jobs as expected.

The witness also confirmed to the court the results from Niger State as announced by INEC, which he insisted he refused to sign to.

However, when asked if he stated the figures he claimed were scored by his party at the election, the witness said no.

Summary of Friday's proceedings: Peter Obi vs APC, Tinubu, INEC

Peter Obi's lead counsel told the court that he has a schedule of more evidence that they desire to render before the court.

He continued with evidence (election results) from Rivers and Kogi states. He also presented certified true copies of INEC elections results from six LGAs in Rivers State as evidence.

Again, counsel to the first, second and third respondents object to the admissibility of the evidences.

However, the court admitted the documents as evidence, while awaiting the arguments of the respondents who are opposed to the admissibility of the documents.

After admitting Obi's evidence, the court adjourned the matter to Monday, June 5.

Summary of Friday's proceedings: APM's petition adjourned

The day’s proceedings, presided over by Justice Haruna Tsammani, commenced with the petition of the Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM) vs INEC, APC, and President Bola Tinubu.

The APM, in its petition, contends that the withdrawal of Ibrahim Masari, who was initially nominated as the vice presidential candidate of the APC, invalidated Tinubu’s candidacy in view of Section 131(c) and 142 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

But the tribunal adjourned at the last sitting, to enable parties to obtain copies of the judgement in a similar matter between the PDP and APC, Tinubu, which the respondents in this matter say has been thoroughly dealt with.

The matter is again adjourned to next week, Friday, June 9, on the ground that the counsel has not been able to obtain copies of the Supreme Court judgement referred to here.

Updates from Friday, June 2

Recall that tt Thursday’s proceeding, Obi tendered results from 115 local government areas (LGAs) as part of his evidence to back his claims. However, the respondents opposed the evidence tendered by the Labour Party candidate.

On Friday, Obi and the LP national chairman, Julius Abure, were present in court.

Court reconvenes

Shortly after, the court reconvened in response to the Justices' order to Obi's legal team to organise their documents properly before proceeding.

The legal team seemed disorganised, prompting the five-man panel of justices to express their belief that Obi's lawyers underestimated the complexity of the task assigned to them.

In an effort to prevent any further wastage of the court's time, the five-man panel advised Emeka Okpoko, the counsel for the petitioners, to ensure that the documents were arranged appropriately before presenting them. They emphasizsd that the court should not be treated like a marketplace.

However, Awa Kalu, another member of the legal team, intervened and informed the court that they had requested an adjournment until today to address urgent matters. Consequently, they were not prepared to go home but wished to continue presenting the properly organised documents before the court. Kalu further requested that 16 out of the initially mentioned 21 local governments in Rivers state be accepted as evidence.

In response, Justice Haruma Tsamani permitted the submission of those documents that had been arranged properly before the court.

Court steps down Peter Obi’s petition against Tinubu for 10minutes

The tribunal had to step down the hearing in the petition filed by Obi and the Labour Party, against the election of President Bola Tinubu for 10 minutes.

The petition was stepped down by the court following poor schedule of documents being sought to be tendered to establish the allegations of malpractices during the Presidential election.

At the resumed hearing, the court discovered that the documents were not properly scheduled as ordered by the court.

Some discrepancies were uncovered while rendering the documents from the 23 Local Government Areas of Benue State.

Counsel to Obi and the Party, Emeka Okpoko sought to use documents not filed to conduct the proceedings, but the move was rejected on the ground of illegality.

The court subsequently stepped down hearing of the petition to 10 minutes and asked the legal team to re-file the schedule of documents in line with the provisions of the pre-hearing report.

June 1: Updates from presidential election tribunal

The tribunal continues hearing Peter Obi's and Labour Party's petition today, Thursday, June 1.

The LP flagbearer Peter Obi and his Vice, Datti Baba- Ahmed, are in court.

Tribunal fails to hear Labour Part/Peter Obi’s petition due to ill health of party staff

The Petition of the Labour Party and its Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi, could not be heard this morning due to the ill health of two key staff in the Secretariat of the party.

Counsel to Obi and the LP, Awa Kalu, made this known at the resumed hearing of case. He asked for an adjournment to June 1 for continuation.

Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Abubakar Mahmoud, did not oppose the call for an adjournment but stated that it Should be on record that the party had lost one day to call its witnesses.

Counsels to Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC), Wole Olanikpekun and Lateef Fagbemi, also did not oppose the adjournment.

The five-man panel of Justices led by Justice Haruna Tsammani subsequently adjourned the hearing of their petition to June 1.

Meanwhile, the tribunal has admitted documents extracted from the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines used to conduct the February 25 presidential election as evidence.

Read the details here

May 31: Tribunal resumes hearing

Welcome to Legit.ng's live coverage as the Presidential Election Petition Court proceedings resume today, Wednesday, May 31.

PDP, Atiku open case, tender BVAS printouts, election results, others

Meanwhile, the PDP also tenders before the tribunal copies of results sheets, printouts of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and record of the number of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) collected for the last presidential election across the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The documents were tendered as part of the commencement of the hearing in the petition by the PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

The documents tender from the bar by the petitioners’ lawyer, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), were admitted in evidence, with the objection raised in relation to some of the documents by lawyers to the respondents.

The petitioners did not call any witnesses.

Peter Obi’s first witness testifies

After the tribunal admitted the documents in evidence, Okutepa called his client’s first witness.

The witness, Lawrence Nwakaeti, said he deposed to a witness statement on 20 March at the court’s registry in Abuja.

Nwakaeti, a lawyer, told the court that he voted during the 25 February presidential election at his polling unit at Umuezeala Village Square, Ihiala, in Anambra State.

In his depositions, Nwakaeti said President Tinubu was fined in the US for allegedly trafficking in narcotics.

But under cross-examination by Wole Olanipekun, Tinubu’s lawyer, Nwakaeti said he would be surprised to know if Tinubu was not fined in the documents he tendered to the court.

Responding to Olanipekun’s enquiry if the witness had been to the US, Nwakaeti answered in the affirmative.

Specifically, he said he had visited Michigan in 2003.

Also, APC’s lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) asked Nwakaeti if he was aware that a “formal clearance report” was issued by a legal attaché of the US embassy, absolving Tinubu of any wrongdoing concerning the alleged crime.

In his response, Nwakaeti said he was not aware of any clearance report in favour of Tinubu.

After the witness concluded his testimony, the court adjourned Obi’s petition until Wednesday for further hearing.

Tribunal admits documents alleging Tinubu’s indictment for illicit drugs offences

The tribunal admits documents in evidence accusing President Tinubu of drug offences in the United States.

Peter Obi’s lawyer, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN) tendered some court documents purporting to be the US court’s decision awarding $460,000 fine against Tinubu for illicit drugs trafficking imposed by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.

The suit marked: 93C 4483 was between the United States of America and Tinubu.

Okutepa also tendered documents to aid Obi’s case of double nomination being pushed against the vice president, Kashim Shettima.

INEC speaks documents tendered by Labour Party

Countering the action of the Labour Party, INEC, through its lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud, said it's not proper that INEC is being kept in the dark with respect to documents to be tendered by the petitioner.

He, therefore, says the action of the Labour Party amounts to "trial by ambush" as it is yet to be served the documents that the party seeks to tender.

Mahmoud adds that this is crucial to be sure the documents have been duly Certified or not.

The tribunal agrees with INEC and says all respondents in the Labour Party petition need to view the documents to be tendered beforehand.

The court subsequently goes on a 10-minute break for the issue to be sorted out.

Labour Party set to present first witness

The Labour Party is ready to bring forward its first witness. Peter Obi, represented by his lawyer Jibril Okutepa, informed the Court that they will be submitting some documents before the witness testifies.

The first document they will submit is INEC's Form EC11A, dated July 14th, 2022. This form contains the signature of Kashim Shettima, acknowledging his acceptance of the Vice-Presidential nomination.

Peter Obi, Datti Baba-Ahmed present in court

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi and his running mate in the February 25 poll, Datti Baba-Ahmed, are currently in court.

Labour Party opens case, to call only one witness today

The Labour Party (LP) opens its case by calling its first witness.

The court earlier allocated three hours for the hearing in the petition by the LP and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi.

But, when asked by the court how many witnesses they have in court for the commencement of their case, their lawyer, Livy Uzoukwu (SAN) said the petitioners have only one witness in court today.

Tribunal adjourns APM’s petition over Supreme Court’s decision in PDP’s double nomination case

In line with the party's lawyer's request, Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel adjourned till Friday hearing in the petition by the APM.

APC lawyer makes reference to Supreme Court's ruling on PDP's case

The proceedings commence as Bola Tinubu, represented by his Counsel Wole Olanipekun, makes reference to the recent Supreme Court ruling on Friday, May 26, which dismissed the PDP's case regarding the alleged double nomination of the vice president, Kashim Shettima.

Olanipekun raises the question of whether this decision by the highest court nullifies the case brought forth by the Allied People's Movement (APM), which similarly challenges the APC's victory on the basis of substituting Kashim Shettima with a placeholder candidate, Kabir Masari.

In reply, S.A.T. Abubakar, the lawyer representing the APM, stated that the party has not yet received a copy of the judgment issued by the Supreme Court.

Abubakar emphasised that the party will take necessary action once they obtain a copy of the judgment, in order to understand the implications of the Supreme Court's decision fully.

Tinubu's lawyer subsequently stated his intention to obtain the Certified True Copy of the Supreme Court judgment within two days and provide it to the APM.

In response, the lawyer for the APM requested an adjournment of the petition hearing until Friday, June 2, to allow him to apply to the Supreme Court for the Certified True Copy of the judgment regarding Shettima's double nomination.

May 30: Tribunal resumes hearing

Welcome to Legit.ng's live coverage as the Presidential Election Petition Court proceedings resume today, Tuesday, May 30.

What to expect today is the actual hearing of the petitions challenging the outcome of the 2023 Presidential Election.

Tribunal fixes date to commence hearing

Meanwhile, the court has fixed May 30 to commence the definite hearing of the petitions.

The tribunal gives three weeks to the Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi, to prove his case against the outcome of the Presidential Election.

In the pre-hearing report read by Justice Tsammani said the three weeks span from 30th May to June 23.

In order to ensure a speedy hearing of the petition, there will be no oral examination of witnesses, as what will be required is the adoption of witness statements. For star (or expert) witnesses, 30 minutes shall be used for evidence in chief, while 20 minutes will be for cross-examination and five minutes for re-examination.

The court also scheduled August 5 for counsels of all parties in the Obi petition to adopt their addresses, indicating an end of the hearing, awaiting judgment.

According to the schedule, the court is expected to hold proceedings from Monday to Saturday each week until the completion of the hearing of the petition.

By law, the tribunal has 180 days to determine the petitions and that expires on September 16, 2023.

Tribunal merges APM, Obi, Atiku petitions

Tinubu and the APC's bid to stop the tribunal from merging the petitions of Atiku, Peter Obi and the APM has failed.

The tribunal on Tuesday consolidated all the petitions against Tinubu.

Recall that the presidential election petition court had raised the issue of consolidating all the petitions and asked parties to address it.

Tinubu and the APC had opposed the issue of a merger, but the other petitioners maintained a neutral stance.

At the resumed court session on Tuesday, the five-member panel of the court held that the petitions would be consolidated and heard side by side given the time constraint to hear and determine the petitions.

Tuesday, May 23: Tribunal resumes sitting

The tribunal resumes today, Tuesday, May 23. What to expect today?

The judges will give their report on the pre-hearing session that has been on for two weeks.

The five-member panel headed by Justice Haruna Tsammani will also give its position on the consolidation of the three surviving petitions-Atiku/PDP, Peter Obi/Labour Party and APM.

Tribunal rejects Atiku, Peter Obi's application for live broadcast of proceedings

The tribunal has dismissed an application seeking a live broadcast of proceedings of the Election Petition hearings.

In a unanimous ruling, the five-member panel said allowing cameras in the courtroom for live streaming or broadcast of proceedings isn't provided for in Nigeria's laws.

The application was dismissed for lacking in merit as allowing such will amount to dramatization of the proceedings of the Court.

Read details here.

Tinubu, Shettima's lawyers react

Tinubu and Shettima, through their lawyer, Akin Olujimi are also opposed to granting an order for consolidation of the petitions.

He argues that the wording of paragraph 50 of the 1st schedule of the Electoral Act may give an impression that it's mandatory, but he stresses it's not. They also say the interest of justice will not be served. Olujimi insists the three petitions have different grounds on which they are based on.

Olujimi states that the constitution of the parties is different, as the petition of APM has five respondents, PDP has three respondents, and while Labour Party has four.

Kabiru Masari (Shettima's Placeholder) also opposes the call for consolidation of the petitions. He spoke through his lawyer, Lawrence Otaru.

Masari says consolidating the petitions will cause embarrassment, confusion and chaos.

The tribunal will, on Tuesday, May 23, give a presentation of its pre-hearing report.

According to Arise News, all respondents, except INEC, are opposed to the call for the consolidation of petitions.

APC rejects consolidation of the three petitions

APC through its lawyer, Charles Edosomwan, has rejected the consolidation of the petitions on grounds that the interest of justice will not be served even though he agreed that it is mandatory and at the discretion of the Court.

APM has one witness

The Allied People's Movement (APM) says it has listed one witness and is proposing two days to prosecute its case challenging Tinubu's victory.

The party also said it's ready to accept the proposed consolidation of the three surviving petitions.

On its position on the matter of consolidation, INEC said it's at the discretion of the Court to decide how it goes.

The electoral body added it is taking a neutral stance on the subject of consolidation of the three petitions.

Monday, May 22: Tribunal resumes hearing

The Presidential Election Petition Court resumes today, Monday, May 22, with the anticipation of a ruling on the application by the PDP and the Labour Party for a live broadcast of the proceedings.

The five-member panel headed by Justice Haruna Tsammani will make its position clear on the application which INEC, Bola Tinubu and the APC have opposed.

There will also be an update on the instruction by the court for all parties to decide on consolidating the three surviving petitions.

The surviving petitions are those of the PDP, Labour Party and the Allied People's Movement (APM).

They all seek to nullify Tinubu's victory in the Presidential Election held on 25 February 2023.

Atiku to present about 100 witnesses

The legal representative of Atiku/PDP informed the Court that their clients intend to present approximately 100 witnesses during the hearing of the petition that questions Tinubu's electoral victory.

They expressed their intention to complete presenting their case within a three-week timeframe, despite being entitled to a period of seven weeks as petitioners.

Peter Obi of the Labour Party intends to call 50 witnesses and requested seven weeks to present his case.

President-elect Bola Tinubu, APC and INEC have also announced the number of witnesses they intend to call. Read the details here.

Tinubu to present 39 witnesses in Atiku/PDP's petition

According to Roland Otaru, the lawyer representing Tinubu, they plan to bring forward 39 witnesses and aim to conclude their portion of the case within a span of nine days.

Otaru further suggested that any reports from 'expert witnesses' should be provided at least 48 hours prior to their testimonies being heard.

Additionally, Tinubu emphasised the importance of filing and serving documents to all involved parties ahead of the scheduled hearing of the petition or the calling of witnesses.

INEC to present two witnesses during hearing of Atiku/PDP's petition

INEC, through its lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud, says it will present two witnesses during the hearing of Atiku/PDP's petition challenging the outcome of the election.

What to expect at the tribunal

The tribunal is set to streamline the hearing procedure for the petitions of the PDP and the Labour Party, according to Channels TV.

The two parties are challenging the victory of the APC candidate and president-elect, Tinubu.

Legit.ng gathers that the court will agree on the schedule of the main petition, the number of witnesses that will testify, and the time to be allocated and be cross-examined.

Chris Uche, counsel for the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his party, said all the parties had met, considered and agreed on the number of witnesses, duration and examination of witnesses.

Saturday, May 20: Tribunal resumes hearing

Welcome to Legit.ng's live updates of the proceedings today, Saturday, May 20.

Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi and some top officials of the PDP are present in court.

Tribunal adjourns

The tribunal, after hearing from the parties, adjourned till tomorrow, Saturday, May 20.

The pre-hearing on the petition of Atiku/PDP may be concluded on Saturday.

Details of today's proceedings: Both PDP and LP's petitions heard

Various applications filed by INEC, Tinubu and APC have been responded to by the counsel of Atiku/PDP.

Kemi Pinhero, a member of INEC's legal team informed the Election Petition court that it has two applications against the petition of Atiku/PDP.

The first one seeks the striking out of 32 listed paragraphs of the petition faulting the outcome of the Presidential Election.

However, Chris Uche for Atiku/PDP urged the Court to dismiss the application for grossly lacking in merit and for being incompetent. He says the Court needs to hear the petition on its merit and not in bits.

The second application seeks to strike out the reply in the petitioners' petition. In reply to this, Chris Uche accused INEC of fighting a proxy war for Bola Tinubu calling to question the neutrality of INEC as an electoral umpire.

The various applications of both Tinubu and APC are seeking an order of the Presidential Election Petition court striking out the petition challenging the outcome of the February 25 Presidential Election.

INEC and the APC have two applications each, while Tinubu has three applications seeking the striking out of Atiku/PDP's petition against the outcome of the presidential polls.

Meanwhile, following the adoption of the process of all parties in the matter the five-member panel of the court chaired by Justice Haruna Tsammani has reserved a ruling which will be delivered with the final judgement.

Pre-hearing of Peter Obi's petition continues with drama

There was another mild drama as pre-hearing on the Labour Party matter continues.

Awa Kalu announced an appearance for the Labour Party, and Oba Maduabuchi, another counsel rose to announce an appearance also for the Labour Party, the Lamidi Apapa faction.

He informed the Court that he was handed the brief to represent the party.

The Court subsequently intervened, stating that the Apapa faction didn't file the petition, and as such can't be legal representation for the Labour Party. The court further added that there can't be two counsels representing the party.

Lamidi Apapa, Peter Obi, others arrive court

Following the previous drama, the acting national chairman of the Labour Party, Lamidi Apapa, fulfilled his promise to return to the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

On Friday, during the resumption of proceedings, Apapa was seen seated at the back of the courtroom instead of the designated area reserved for Labour Party representatives, according to Channels TV.

Notably, the party's presidential candidate, Peter Obi, was also present.

This development comes after Apapa's brief appearance two days prior when he tried to occupy a seat designated for one of the LP leaders.

This action led to a confrontation with party members, resulting in a heated exchange of words. The tribunal declined to recognize Apapa's appearance on behalf of the LP since both factions presented their own representatives.

Justice Haruna Tsamani emphasised that if two individuals claim to represent the party, their appearance would not be officially recorded. The tribunal adjourned the proceedings for today to continue with the pre-hearing stage.

As Apapa was leaving the courtroom, he faced a chorus of boos and jeers from party members aligned with National Chairman Julius Abure's camp, taunting him.

Friday, May 19: It's a fresh day at the Presidential Election Tribunal

Welcome to Legit.ng's live updates of the proceedings of the presidential election petition tribunal.

Today, Friday, May 19, the tribunal is expected to hear Peter Obi's petition.

Tribunal reveals when it will rule on Atiku's application

After hearing from all the parties, the tribunal reserved its ruling on Atiku's application for the live broadcast of proceedings, which will be delivered on Friday, May 19.

On the same day, a similar application by the Labour Party (LP) will also be heard.

Lawyers to INEC, APC, Tinubu disagree

Abubakar Mahmoud, counsel for INEC, expressed disagreement with the application, arguing that introducing cameras into the courtroom would undermine the solemn atmosphere the court is known for. He believed that conducting their work without cameras on their faces would maintain the desired seriousness.

Wole Olanipekun, the counsel for APC's presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, expressed surprise at the petitioner's application, emphasizing the need for a serious approach in the courtroom. He stressed that the court should not be treated like a stadium, theatre, or circus.

Lateef Fagbemi, counsel for the APC, likened live streaming of the proceedings to reality television shows like BBNaija (Big Brother Nigeria). He argued that jurisdictions with live streaming often miss important elements of the proceedings. Fagbemi also highlighted the distinction between a trial for the public and a trial by the public, suggesting that granting the application could set a precedent for other tribunals seeking the same order.

Tribunal hears Atiku's application for live broadcast of proceedings

Chris Uche, the counsel for Atiku and PDP, emphasised the importance of allowing the televising of proceedings, citing its "monumental national significance."

He requested an order from the court to determine the modalities of implementation to ensure a solemn and objective environment.

Presidential election tribunal resumes hearing

The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal on Thursday, May 18, resumed the continuation of the hearing in the suit by the PDP and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

Drama continues after the pre-hearing session

The drama continues after the pre-hearing session at the tribunal as supporters of the Julius Abure-led camp of the party refuse the acting national chairman, Lamidi Apapa, to address the press.

Tribunal adjourns Peter Obi’s pre-hearing against Tinubu to May 19

After listening to arguments from the parties involved, the tribunal has adjourned to Friday, May 19, for the continuation of the pre-hearing of Obi's petition.

Read the details here.

INEC's lawyer reacts, counters Labour Party's lawyer's claim

However, the counsel for INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud, expressed surprise at the allegations made by the Labour Party's counsel. Mahmoud claimed that the Labour Party did not attend the agreed meeting and walked out of the rescheduled meeting.

Mahmoud explained that the documents for Rivers and Sokoto states were indeed provided, but the Labour Party refused to pay the required sum of 1.5 million naira for the Sokoto state documents. Additionally, the Form EC8A for Rivers state had not been handed over to them.

Mahmoud stated that although some documents were given to the party, they refused to collect them until they received the complete set. He assured the court that INEC was making every effort to assist in an open manner.

Labour Party's lawyer accuses INEC of not cooperating

Livy Uzoukwu, the counsel for the Labour Party, informed the court that the meeting held to discuss the submission of documents for the hearing did not yield significant results. According to Uzoukwu, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had only provided 30% of the required documents, which contradicts the commitment made by the INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, to make all necessary documents available.

Uzoukwu further stated that the party had not yet received the documents concerning Rivers State. Despite requesting the Resident Electoral Commissioner to put it in writing, Uzoukwu claimed that the Commissioner stated there were no available Forms EC8A but failed to provide written confirmation.

Labour Party factions clash

A mild drama ensued between the two camps of the Labour Party on which group should be in court.

The Tribunal refused to take an appearance for the LP as acting National Chairman of the party, Lamidi Apapa and the National Women’s Leader of the party, Dudu Manugu, who tried to make an appearance for the Labour Party when the petition was called.

The tribunal chairman, Justice Haruna Tsamani, said if two persons are making an appearance for the party, they will not be put on record.

Apapa had attempted to occupy the seat reserved for the Abure but was resisted. Read details about the drama here.

Peter Obi arrives court

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has arrived court for the pre-hearing of his petition against the President-elect, Bola Tinubu.

According to Channels TV, the embattled LP national chairman, Julius Abure was also in court.

The party’s factional chairman, Lamidi Apapa, was also present. A huge drama ahead.

What to expect today: Peter Obi's petition

Recall that the Tribunal had last week adjourned the pre-hearing session on Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP)’s petition till May 17 at the instance of the petitioners.

This will be the focus of the tribunal as the judges resume today.

Presidential election tribunal resumes sitting

Welcome to Legit.ng's live updates as the presidential election tribunal resumes sitting today, Wednesday, May 17.

Atiku's petition adjourned

The tribunal has adjourned Atiku/PDP's motion which sought a live broadcast of the hearings in the presidential election petition case, to Thursday, May 18.

Read the details here.

PDP's lawyer speaks

After the announcement of appearances by various lawyers representing all the parties, the PDP/Atiku’s lead counsel, Dr Chris Uche, informed the court that, in order to allow for a seamless Pre hearing of the case at the tribunal, counsels for various parties, met and have agreed to consolidate on some issues related to documentations and will sort them on Thursday May, 18.

On the motion/application for televising the proceedings of the court, Dr Chris Uche informed the court that the PDP/Atiku is yet to hear from other parties.

He also announced that the PDP/Atiku has been served with additional court processes by the APC and its Presidential Candidate, Bola Tinubu, saying that the team is filing their responses to the new processes.

Why I am at the court, Atiku reveals

Atiku takes to his Twitter handle to explain why he is present at the tribunal. The former VP and PDP presidential candidate said he is at the court to observe the proceedings.

His tweet:

"I am at the Court of Appeal, the venue of the 2023 Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), to observe the proceedings of today's hearing. -AA"

Atiku arrives court

The PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has arrived at the court ahead of the hearing.

Tinubu’s motion seeking dismissal of APM’s petition

Tinubu has also filed a motion seeking the dismissal of the petition by the All Peoples Movement (APM) challenging his election at the pre-hearing stage.

In its petition, APM contends that Tinubu is not qualified to contest the 2023 presidential election because he has not produced a validly nominated running mate.

APM also contends that Shettima was still the nominated senatorial candidate of the APC for Borno Central Senatorial District, Borno state, as of the date he was nominated as the vice presidential candidate on July 14, 2022.

APM and its presidential candidate, Chichi Ojei, also contended that the election was marred by widespread irregularities.

The tribunal will hear Tinubu's motion today too.

PDP, Atiku seek live broadcast of proceedings

Also today, the tribunal will hear the motion by Atiku seeking a live broadcast of the proceedings.

Counsel to Atiku, Chris Uche (SAN), said the application is “an order directing the court’s registry and parties on modalities for admission of media practitioners and equipment into the courtroom.”

Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Hearing Enters Day 4

Welcome to Legit.ng's live updates of the Day 4 proceedings at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja.

What to expect today:

  • Tinubu wants Atiku’s petition on dual citizenship issue struck out
  • PDP, Atiku seek live broadcast of proceedings
  • Tinubu’s motion seeking dismissal of APM’s petition

Today, Thursday, May 11, the court will hear the two motions by Tinubu challenging Atiku’s petition.

In the first motion brought by his counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Tinubu seeks to strike out some paragraphs in Atiku’s petition where he raised new issues, which he said were not pleaded in the original petition while replying to his preliminary objection.

Atiku had contended that Tinubu did not meet the constitutional threshold and is constitutionally disabled from contesting for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because he forfeited a sum of $460,000 to the US in a drug case.

The PDP presidential candidate also claimed that Tinubu failed to disclose in his Form EC9 that he holds dual citizenship in Nigeria and Guinea, having voluntarily acquired the citizenship of the Republic of Guinea.

Atiku had further submitted that the grounds for non-qualification are competent, being a constitutional issue.

Tinubu, in his second motion, also asked the tribunal to dismiss the entire petition seeking the nullification of the election for being a breach of the Electoral Act, 2022, filed by Atiku at the pre-hearing stage for being incompetent.

APC reacts to APP's withdrawal of petition

In reaction, counsel to Tinubu, Wole Olanipekun, said he and his client are not opposing the APP's application for withdrawal, adding that they also are not asking for cost.

Chairman of the Panel, Justice Tsammani, subsequently dismissed the suit with no cost attached.

The APP was challenging the Presidential Election on the grounds of alleged non-compliance with the electoral laws as well as INEC guidelines.

Following the dismissal, the court rose and will reconvene at 2pm for the Labour Party’s suit.

APP withdraws petition challenging Tinubu’s victory

Meanwhile, the Action Peoples Party (APP) has applied to withdraw its petition challenging Tinubu's victory.

The counsel to the APP, Obed Agu, also asked the court to strike out and dismiss the suit.

Agu said he was working on the instructions of his client.

Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Hearing Enters Day 3

Welcome to Legit.ng's live updates of the Day 3 proceedings at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja.

The court will today, Wednesday, May 10, hear the motions brought by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, over the outcome of the February 25 election.

Recall that the presiding justice of the tribunal, Justice Haruna Tsammani, had on Monday scheduled the hearing on the responses to pre-hearing questions by the parties on Obi and LP’s petition.

The proceeding, which has been fixed for 2 pm, is for the tribunal to review the compliance of parties to its directive to streamline issues they would rely on in the main hearing.

According to Daily Trust, Obi and LP will also bring their motion for the live broadcast of the tribunal proceedings.

Atiku's petition adjourned

The presiding justice, Justice Haruna Tsammani adjourns Atiku's petition to Thursday, May 11.

Tsammani added the fresh motions brought by Tinubu's legal team seeking to dismiss Atiku's petition at the pre-hearing stage will be entertained on the adjourned date.

Legit.ng gathers that the Tribunal will also rule on Atiku's earlier motion for a live broadcast of the proceedings on Thursday.

Tinubu's lawyer reacts

Tinubu's lawyer said they have filed motions for the tribunal to dismiss the petitions brought by Atiku.

Akin Olujimi (SAN) was responding to whether Tinubu's team has responded to the pre-hearing questions in Form TF 008 contained in the Atiku petition.

He said "yes" but they have brought motions to ask for the dismissal of the petitions

Atiku's lawyer speaks

Chris Uche (SAN), Atiku's lawyer tells the tribunal that "several agreements were broken in the 2023 election".

The senior lawyer was making a submission that it was not compulsory to follow some procedure in the pre-hearing.

He said it when Justice Tsammani told him the procedure has already been agreed. The presiding justice replied "that is for you."

Tribunal commences pre-hearing of Atiku's petition

It's now the time for the second petition scheduled for hearing today: Atiku and the PDP's.

APM's petition adjourned

The presiding justice, Justice Tsammani, has adjourned APM's petition against Tinubu to Thursday, May 11.

This is to enable parties to look at the applications and pre-hearing issues they would be objecting to and those they won't be.

The judge added that all applications will be determined during the next pre-hearing session

Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Hearing: Day 2

Welcome to Legit.ng's live updates of the Day 2 proceedings at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja.

Below are the petitions that the court will hear today:

  1. Allied Peoples Movement (APM) marked: CA/PEPC/04/2023
  2. Atiku Abubakar & the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) marked: CA/PEPC/05/2023

It's a wrap

Today's live coverage of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja has concluded. The tribunal is set to resume on Tuesday, May 9.

The petitions to be heard tomorrow are by:

  • Allied Peoples Movement (APM) marked: CA/PEPC/04/2023
  • Atiku Abubakar & the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) marked: CA/PEPC/05/2023

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for our live coverage of the proceedings.

We leave you with some photos from the tribunal today.

Presidential election tribunal
Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Begins Hearing: LIVE UPDATES
Source: Original

Presidential election tribunal
Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Begins Hearing: LIVE UPDATES
Source: Original

Presidential election tribunal
Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Begins Hearing: LIVE UPDATES
Source: Original

Presidential election tribunal
Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Begins Hearing: LIVE UPDATES
Source: Original

Presidential election tribunal/Peter Obi
Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Begins Hearing: LIVE UPDATES
Source: Original

Tribunal adjourns Peter Obi, Labour Party's petition against Tinubu to May 10

The tribunal fixes May 10 for pre-hearing in the petition of the Labour Party (LP) and Peter Obi challenging Tinubu's victory.

Tribunal adjourns APP's petition against Tinubu

The tribunal fixes May 10 for pre-hearing in the petition of the Action Peoples Party (APP) challenging the February 25 presidential election.

APP and its presidential candidate, Simon Nnadi, are asking the tribunal to disqualify Tinubu over his alleged non-qualification to contest the election.

They also argued that INEC failed to comply with the provision of the Electoral Act, 2023 by non-transmission of results, which robbed them of their victory in the election, adding that the election was marred by corrupt practices with the election results compromised in nine states.

Also, they contended that the APC and Tinubu did not score the majority of lawful votes cast in the election, including the mandatory 25 per cent of the votes in the FCT.

Earlier, counsel to APP, Obed Agu, said he has filed a pre-hearing application for the APC and Tinubu to concede the election before the matter because of the weight of evidence at APP's disposal showing Tinubu didn't win the election.

But lawyers to APC and Tinubu, Lateef Fagbemi and Wole Olanipekun, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria, informed the tribunal that they will deal with the issues at the right time.

Summary of Peter Obi's petition

The petition, jointly filed by Peter Obi and his party, has INEC, Tinubu, Shettima Kashim, and the APC as the respondents.

Prayer 1: 25% votes in FCT

Obi and LP want the tribunal to determine “that the 2nd Respondent (Tinubu) having failed to score one-quarter of the votes cast at the Presidential Election in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja was not entitled to be declared and returned as the winner of the presidential election held on 25 February 2023”.

Prayer 2: Cancellation of Election

Obi and his party also prayed to the court to order the cancellation of the February 25 presidential election.

They added that: “the Presidential election conducted on 25th February 2023 is void on the ground that the election was not conducted substantially in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended”.

Prayer 3: Fresh election

In addition to the election cancellation, the LP candidate asked the court to compel INEC to conduct a fresh election.

Prayer 4: Shettima's eligibility

Obi also prayed the tribunal to make an order that will disqualify Tinubu and his running mate, Shettima from the fresh election.

He said, “the nomination of Kashim Shettima as vice presidential candidate was defective as he did not withdraw from his nomination as a senatorial candidate of his party before accepting to serve as vice presidential candidate of Mr Tinubu”.

Prayer 5: Tinubu's Eligibility

The petitioners argue that Tinubu should not have been eligible to run for the office of the president due to his “ineligibility”.

They said the president-elect “was not duly elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast at the time of the election”.

Also, they claimed the APC candidate “was linked to drug trafficking by US court” leading to his eventual forfeiture of the sum of $460,000 to the American government, adding that Tinubu is “not qualified to contest Nigerian presidency”.

Peter Obi present at tribunal

Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate, has arrived at the tribunal.

Peter Obi arrives at tribunal
Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Begins Hearing: LIVE UPDATES
Source: Original

Atiku, PDP want proceedings to be broadcast live

Meanwhile, it is important to note that Atiku and the PDP had approached the tribunal for an order allowing a live broadcast of the day-to-day proceedings of the court regarding his petition.

It is left to be seen whether the tribunal will grant the wishes of Atiku and his party.

Action Alliance withdraws petition against Tinubu

The Action Alliance (AA) has withdrawn their petition against Tinubu. Get the details here.

Two other petitions to be heard on Tuesday

Justice Tsammani also said the court has scheduled hearing on the other two petitions for Tuesday, May 9, the Nation reported.

The petitions are by:

  1. Allied Peoples Movement (APM) marked: CA/PEPC/04/2023
  2. Atiku Abubakar & the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) marked: CA/PEPC/05/2023