Nigeria’s opposition candidates, Atiku, Obi, appeal election verdict, asks court to sack Tinubu as president

From left, Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi

Nigeria’s main opposition candidates in this year’s presidential election appealed a ruling that upheld President Bola Tinubu’s victory and asked the nation’s Supreme Court in separate applications to declare them the winner instead.

In the documents filed, both the Peoples Democratic Party’s Atiku Abubakar, who came second in the election and the Labour Party’s Peter Obi, who finished third, said the appeals court which dismissed challenges against Tinubu’s election victory this month “erred in law” by not supporting their claims of illegality.

Three opposing candidates challenged February’s election of Tinubu who is attending this year’s United Nations General Assembly as a first-time president. Observers said though the conduct of the election was an improvement from previous ones, delays in uploading and announcing the results might have given room for ballot tampering.

In his appeal, Abubakar said Nigeria’s election commission did not follow the due process in announcing the winner and that Tinubu was not qualified to contest for president, citing allegations of dual citizenship and of a criminal indictment in the United States, all of which the Nigerian leader has denied.

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His 42-page notice of appeal urged the Supreme Court to rule that declaring Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election is “unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever … having not satisfied the (legal) requirements” to win. The court should either declare him the winner or direct the election commission to conduct a fresh vote, Abubakar requested.

Obi’s 50-page application similarly accused the appeals court of “miscarriage of justice” in dismissing all his arguments against Tinubu’s victory.

The date to hear the appeals is yet to be announced.

None of Nigeria’s presidential elections since its return to democracy in 1999 has ever been nullified.

Analysts said this year’s election is different given the adoption of the newly amended electoral law that introduced the use of technology to make the process more transparent, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday, September 19, 2023.