‘He Was PDP Member When He Picked LP Ticket’ — APC Asks Tribunal To Dismiss Obi’s Petition

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Court rejects Peter Obi's 25% FCT votes requirement
Court rejects Peter Obi's 25% FCT votes requirement

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has filed its response against a petition by Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) on the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.

On Monday, the APC, through Thomas Ojo, a member of the party’s legal team, countered the petition filed by Obi.

On March 1, Tinubu, the standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was declared the winner of the presidential election.

Tinubu secured 8,794,726 votes, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had 6,984,520, and Peter Obi of the LP polled 6,101,533.

However, the PDP and LP rejected the result. Both parties approached the tribunal with separate petitions to challenge Tinubu’s victory.

In his petition, Obi submitted that Tinubu “at the time of the (presidential) election was not qualified to contest the election” owing to the payment of “a fine of $460,000 for an offence involving dishonesty, namely narcotics trafficking imposed by the United States District Court” in 1993.

The petition also stated that Tinubu did not score the two-thirds of votes cast in the federal capital territory (FCT)during the presidential election.

Countering Obi’s petition, APC said the LP presidential candidate was not a valid member of the LP as at the time of the election.

The APC added that the former Anambra governor was a member of the PDP until May 24, 2022 and screened as one of the party’s presidential hopefuls in April 2022.

“1st petitioner (referring to Peter Obi) participated and was cleared to contest the presidential election while being a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP):

“1st petitioner purportedly resigned his membership of Peoples Democratic Party on 24 May 2022 to purportedly join the 2nd Petitioner (Labour Party) on 27 May 2022.

“2nd petitioner conducted its presidential primary on 30th May 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.

“The 1st petitioner was not a member of the 2nd Petitioner as at the time of his alleged sponsorship.

‘He Was PDP Member When He Picked LP Ticket’ — APC Asks Tribunal To Dismiss Obi’s Petition

“Whereas, by the mandatory provisions of Section 77 (1) (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act 2022, a political party shall maintain a register and shall make such register available to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not later than 30 (thirty) days before the date fixed for the party primaries, congresses and convention.

“All the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were screened on 29th April, 2022, an exercise which the 1st petitioner herein participated and cleared to contest while being a member of the party.

“The 1st petitioner herein resigned his membership of the PDP on Thursday 26th May, 2022 and joined the Labour Party the following day being 27th May, 2022.

“The 2nd petitioner herein conducted its presidential primary on 30th May, 2022, which produced the 1st petitioner as the candidate it intended to sponsor in the general election.

“By section 77(3) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the 2nd petitioner is mandated to have submitted its comprehensive register of members to the 1st respondent (referring to INEC) 30 days before its presidential primary. That is to say the said register of members must have been submitted to the 1st Respondent on or before 30th April, 2022.

“The 1st petitioner as at 30th April, 2022 was still a member of the PDP and his name was not and could not have been in the register of members submitted by the 2nd petitioner to 1st respondent.”

The ruling party submitted that Obi’s petition was “improperly constituted by the non-joinder of Atiku and PDP who are necessary parties to be affected by the reliefs sought”.

The APC also argued that Obi “lacks the locus standi” to challenge the outcome of the election because LP “did not present a valid candidate for that election”.

The ruling party submitted that the tribunal does not have the powers to entertain “pre-election complaints embedded” in Obi’s petition.