…Proved He, and Labour Party (LP) Won Benue And Rivers States
On July 20, the legal team of the Labour Party presidential candidate in the February 25, 2023, election, Mr. Peter Obi filed its written submission before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.
In the 40-page summary of the arguments canvassed earlier during the hearing, the document signed by the lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu (SAN) and others argued that it has brought before the court every evidence to prove that its client, Obi won in majority of the states and the Federal Capital Territory and should be declared the winner of the election.
They urged that the court should disregard a veiled threat in the submission of the legal team of the APC presidential candidate, President Bola Tinubu that annulling the result of the election would lead to anarchy.
Obi’s submission listed 14 SANs and 57 other lawyers that represented him. Summary of document
No To Cheap Blackmail
The team’s written argument addressed a content of the earlier submission of Tinubu’s legal team on anarchy if the victory is annulled and said: “Our submission is that the Petitioners are inviting anarchy by their ventilation of this issue of non-transmission of results electronically, by INEC.” This is a cheap, misguided, and destructive blackmail clearly intended to target the country’s judicialism and constitutionalism. It also aims at cannibalizing our democracy. It will also raise the issue of insecurity if the Petitioners emulate the bad example of the 2nd-3rd Respondents. However, that will never happen.
Desperation taken too far can be extremely dangerous. Let the 2nd-3rd Respondents know that where the rule of law is trampled upon or truncated, anarchy reigns supreme.”
Tinubu’s Criminal Liability And Shettima’s Invalid Nomination
The Petitioners document argued that the “invalid nomination of the 3rd Respondent as the Vice Presidential Candidate, nullified the nomination/election of the 2nd Respondent as the Presidential Candidate of the Respondent, within the meaning of the provision of Section 142 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The 2nd Respondent was a subject of an Order of Forfeiture made by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Case No: 93C 4483. The Order of Forfeiture against the Respondent was in terms forfeiting the sum of USD $460,000 against him Bola Tinubu, which represents “proceeds of narcotics trafficking” and “money laundry.”
The Order for Forfeiture against the 2″ Respondent was a fine within the meaning of Section 137 (1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution for which a person shall not be qualified for election to the office of the President if he is under a sentence of fine for any offence involving dishonest or fraud by whatever name called imposed on him by a Court or Tribunal.
The virus of the statutory and constitutional disqualification of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents as candidates in Presidential election renders their purported return/declaration as the winners of the election invalid, null and void and liable to be set aside
INEC Contravention Of Electoral Act
Peter Obi (left) with Labour Party logo
Pursuant to the mandatory provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, INEC introduced the use of modern technology for the conduct of the 2023 General Election. By this, INEC represented/provided that it would use Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the accreditation of voters in the polling units, and the upload/transmission of the result of the election in real time on the day of the election to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV).
Contrary to the requirement of the law and in manifest disregard of its own representation, the 1st Respondent abandoned and discarded the much expected upload/transmission of the result of the election in real time on the day of the election from the polling unit to the IReV, rather, very strangely, blurred, unreadable and inaccessible document/images were uploaded by the 1st Respondent to the IReV, purporting same to be the result of the election in various polling units.
The net result of the upload of the blurred images on the IReV, was that the result of the election could neither be authenticated nor verified, and thus, lacked credibility and transparency.
The upload and transmission of the result of the election from the polling units, using the BVAS to the IREV was a significant feature of the 2023 General Election which the 1st Respondent severally represented and marketed to both the Nigerian public and the international community as a major innovation/introduction that would guarantee transparency in the conduct of the 2023 General Election.
25% Of FCT And Deliberate Falsification
Though the Presidential election was conducted at the same time, on the same day, at the same respective polling units with the National Assembly (Senate/House of Representatives) elections, the results of the National Assembly elections were successfully uploaded/transmitted from the BVAS to the IReV Portal. Strangely, only the result of the Presidential election, equally held in the same polling units, using the same Infrastructure, could not, according to the 1st Respondent, as required by law, be uploaded/transmitted from the polling unit to the IReV.
Petitioners provided unchallenged evidence that, the failure/neglect to upload/transmit the result of the Presidential election held on 25% February 2023, was a violation of the collation process prescribed under the Electoral Act, and also substantially affected the result of the election.
From the purported result of the Presidential election announced/declared by the Respondent on 1st March 2023, the 2nd and 3rd Respondents as Candidates of the 4th Respondent did not win one-quarter (25%) votes cast at the election held on the 25th February 2023 in the Federal Capital Territory, as required by the correct meaning and interpretation of the provision of Section 134 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution as amended
The 2nd Respondent nominated the 3rd Respondent as his Vice-Presidential Candidate on July 14, 2022, while the 3rd Respondent was the Senatorial Candidate of the 4% Respondent for Borno Senatorial District. That was clearly in contravention of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the extant provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.
We submit that the date of July 6, 2022, on the letter of withdrawal cannot be the effective date. It is not in dispute that the 3rd Respondent signed INEC Senatorial Election Notice of Withdrawal of Candidate Form EC11C on July 15, 2022. Until July 15, 2022, the Respondent remained in the records of INEC as the Senatorial Candidate of the 4th Respondent for Borno Central Senatorial District.
Amazon dispels INEC internet failure claims
However, contrary to the evidence of alleged temporary failure of communication between the e-transmission system and the IReV Portal, PW7 provided documentary evidence of the Health Status of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Servers, showing that from the health status of the Server, there was no report of any technological glitch on the day of the election.
The 1st Respondent deployed/utilized the AWS servers for the hosting of its e-transmission Portal as well as the IReV Portal. The Report of the AWS Health Status in the Six Regions where AWS Servers are hosted was admitted in evidence.
LP Won In Rivers And Benue
By evidence of PW4 which is supported/corroborated by Report of Data Analysis of the Result from February 25th, 2023 Presidential Election for Benue and Rivers State, it is submitted that the evidence was neither challenged nor controverted. The executive summary of the Rivers State Scores Report referred to above which is on page 3 is specifically referred to. In similar vein, the executive summary of Benue State Scores on page 3 of the said Benue State Report is also referred to. It is further submitted that from a proper understanding of the actual summation of the scores obtained by the Petitioners and the 4th Respondent in Rivers and Benue States, clearly show that the Petitioners won the election in both states.
Real Time Upload Of Result Is Compelling
In the instant case, the Petitioners have provided substantial evidence establishing. their case of non-compliance, while the Respondents provided no evidence whatsoever on this point. The 2nd and 3rd Respondents woefully failed to rebut the Petitioners strong claim of non-compliance in the Petition.
The Electoral Act 2022 made significant innovation for the conduct of the 2023 general elections by introducing the use of modern technology to enhance free, fair, credible, and transparent election process in Nigeria. A combined reading of Sections 47 (2), 60 (5), 62 (2), 64 (6) (b) and (d) of the Electoral Act, contain significant recognition for the use of technology in the conduct of election and the electoral process.
As the base of electoral process, the electronic upload/transmission from the polling unit to the IReV in real time or during the election, signifies a major milestone, requiring strict compliance in the election.
Obi Won In 14 States
A significant highlight of the expert Data Analysis (Data Report), produced by PW4, is that upon a proper and accurate computation of the result of the election in Rivers and Benue State, using the Forms EC8As uploaded on the IReV, and the certified copies of the Forms EC8As given by the 1st Respondent to the Petitioners, is that the Petitioners won the Presidential election held in Rivers and Benue states.
By this unchallenged development, the number of States wherein the Petitioners won the Presidential election will now be Fourteen States and the FCT, whilst the 2nd to 4th Respondents will thereby, have their number of States allegedly announced for them by the 1st Respondent reduced by two States
INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu
We urge that you uphold the above submissions and determine that, the non-compliance by the Respondent in the conduct of the Presidential election held on the 25th day of February 2023, substantially affected the result of the Presidential election.
Your Lordship may rightly, in the interest of justice, declare the purported return of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents as the winners of the Presidential election invalid and accordingly nullify the Presidential election held on the 25th day of February 2023.
Tinubu Didn’t Score Majority Votes, Didn’t Win 25% Of FCT
A convenient starting point for the argument of the issue is to make reference to paragraph 81 of the Petition, wherein the Petitioners pleaded inter alia that, the 2nd Respondent, besides not scoring the majority of the lawful votes cast at the election, did not obtain at least one quarter of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and ought not to have been declared and returned elected.
in dispute between the parties that from the declaration and return made by the 1st Respondent, the 2nd Respondent did not obtain one-quarter (25%) of the votes cast in the FCT.
The language of the Constitution is clearly to the effect that for a candidate to be declared a winner of the Presidential election, that candidate must secure at least one quarter (25%) of votes cast in two-third of the entire 36 States of the Federation (that is in 24 states).
Again, that candidate must also secure not less than 25% of the votes cast at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
My Lords, the literal interpretation of this section is that a candidate must secure 1/4th (25%) of votes cast in 2/3rd of the entire 36 States of Nigeria and 1/4th (25%) of votes cast in FCT. The use of the word “and” had been held by the Supreme Court to be conjunctive, which implies that the conditions in Section 134(2)(b) are conjunctive and mandatory.
For reasons given above, we respectfully urge Your Lordships to discountenance the Respondents’ defence as devoid of any scintilla of merit, hold that the Petitioners’ case is meritorious and grant them their reliefs.
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