The Presidential Election Petitions Court will today deliver judgements on the petitions brought before it by Nigeria’s main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar; Labour Party (LP) and its standard bearer, Peter Obi, as well as the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) against the election of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Tinubu was declared the winner of the February 25 presidential poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), while Atiku Abubakar of the PDP came second in the election, with Obi of the LP coming third.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja hosting the election tribunal said on Monday that the judgments will be televised live by interested television stations for the public to follow, adding that it is in a bid to promote transparency and openness.
In their separate petitions, Atiku, Obi, PDP and LP are praying the court to nullify President Tinubu’s election, disqualify him and declare Atiku or Obi winner of the election.
In its petition, the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) is contending that the withdrawal of 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 Tinubu, APC and INEC prayed the tribunal to dismiss the petitions of the petitioners and affirm Tinubu’s election because infractions observed during the polls were not enough to invalidate the outcome of the presidential.
The five justices of the appellate court who will decide the cases before the election petitions court today are Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal and head of the panel, Justice Haruna Tsammani; Justice Stephen Adah, Court of Appeal (Asaba division); Justice Monsurat Bolaji-Yusuf (Asaba Division); Justice Moses Ugo (Kano division); and Justice Abba Mohammed (Ibadan Division).
Justice Haruna Tsammani
Justice Tsammani was born on November 23, 1959. He hails from Tafawa Balewa LGA of Bauchi State.
The judge obtained his LL.B degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1982. He attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos for his BL in 1983, and started as a High Court judge in Bauchi State on September 17, 1998. Justice Tsammani has presided over various election and financial matters as a judge. He also presided over the VAT case between the Rivers State Government and the federal government.
He was later elevated to the Court of Appeal on July 16, 2010 and is number 11 on the seniority list of the court.
Justice Stephen Adah
Justice Adah is the presiding Justice of the Asaba Division of the Court of Appeal. He was born on June 13, 1957. He hails from Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Adah obtained his LL.B degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1981. He attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, for his BL in 1982.
He was appointed a judge of the Federal High Court on November 12, 1998, and later elevated to the Court of Appeal on November 5, 2012. He is ranked number 21 on the seniority list of the court.
Justice Mistura Bolaji-Yusuf
Justice Bolaji-Yusuf, the only female member of the PEPC was born on August 7, 1959. She is an indigene of Oyo West LGA of Oyo State.
She obtained her LL.B degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 1983. She attended the Nigerian Law School the following year for her BL certificate. She was appointed a Judge of the High Court of Oyo State on January 30, 1997, and later elevated to the Court of Appeal on March 24, 2014. She is ranked number 28 in the court
Justice Boloukuoromo Moses Ugo
Justice Ugo, 57, hails from Kolokuma/Opokua Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
He obtained his LL.B degree from the University of Calabar in 1989, before proceeding to the Nigerian Law School in Lagos the following year, for his BL certificate. He was appointed a Judge of the High Court of Bayelsa State on March 21, 2006, and later elevated to the Court of Appeal on March 24, 2014 and is rank number 41 in the seniority order of the court.
Justice Abba Bello Mohammed
Justice Mohammed is an indigene of Kano State and was born on February 19, 1961. He obtained his LL.B degree from the Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1984, before proceeding to the Nigerian Law School in Lagos the following year, for his BL Certificate in 1985.
Justice Mohammed was appointed a judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in 2010. After serving for about 10 years, he was promoted to the Court of Appeal on June 28, 2021. He was the Chairman of the Nasarawa State Governorship Election Tribunal in 2019.
He is ranked 68 of the 73 justices of the Court of Appeal.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), has deployed additional personnel in a bid to fortify security architecture and forestall any breakdown of law and order as the judges make their pronouncement.
Force PRO, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said the Police wish to reiterate the commitment to ensuring the safety of lives and property before, during and after the judgement.
The NPF has diligently emplaced all necessary deployments and security measures during this critical period as officers and men are fully prepared to maintain order and enforce laws while respecting the rights and freedoms of all citizens.
The Force PRO also said, “The NPF strongly cautions all individuals, including mischief makers and political gladiators, to be cautious in their actions and statements as the Force will not condone activities capable of inciting violence or causing a descent into anarchy. It is imperative for all citizens to embrace peace and maintain calm, regardless of their political affiliations, to ensure a peaceful and secure environment.
“The Nigeria Police Force is dedicated to its duty of protecting and serving the Nigerian people and is committed to carrying out these roles with professionalism, impartiality, and utmost dedication. Together, we can ensure a peaceful and secure environment for all during this period.”
Security Agents Planning To cause Confusion, LP Alleges
Meanwhile, ahead of the presidential election petitions tribunal verdict today, the opposition Labour Party (LP) has raised concern over alleged plans by some security agents to cause confusion.
In statement issued by its national publicity secretary of the party, Obiora Iffoh, LP said, “The unguarded statement from the former Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Mary Odili in Abuja last week at a colloquium to mark the 25th anniversary of the elevation of a renowned jurist, JK Gadzama to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and the boasting of some persons, serving Ministers and notable legislators about the outcome has left our party in shock.
“When those who should know the importance of the sanctity of the judiciary descend to the arena of abusing it with their preemptive utterances just to show loyalty and support to their interests, we as a party see this as unfortunate and dangerous to our democratic journey as a nation.
“We note also the needless lavish showering of praises on the legal counsels of both APC and Candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu by the retired Justice when the gathering was not theirs. We find this extremely undignified of a renowned jurist who rose to the peak of her career in the country’s Apex court and who as the Chairperson of the body of benchers, should be at the forefront of defending the virtuousness of the courts.
“Also curious to every discerning mind watching the unfolding events in Nigeria since the February 25th Presidential election is the fact that the PEPC that refused live television coverage of the hearings of the petition, and is now anxious to have the conclusion beamed live.
“What is it that has happened between the hearing period and the delivery of the judgment that the live coverage which they claimed was a policy issue changed suddenly at the delivery point? We are aware of the efforts of the agents of the States to orchestrate problems and blame them on the political opposition. We wish to emphasize that it is the right of the people in a democracy to demonstrate and the obligation of state security agents to protect the demonstrators and those not demonstrating.
“Meanwhile, we implore Nigerians to remain calm and peaceful, abide by the rule of law, and understand that this matter has not reached its logical and final conclusion.
“Our concern as a critical stakeholder in Nigeria’s project, especially the democratic evolution, is that what is being destroyed with all these cleverness by half playing on people’s intelligence is Nigeria as a nation not necessarily an individual