The All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked the presidential election petition tribunal to dismiss petitions filed by three political parties against the return of its candidate, Bola Tinubu, as president-elect.
The three political parties are the Action Alliance (AA), Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and Action Peoples Party (APP).
AA, in its petition, sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the APC, Tinubu and Hamza Al-Mustapha, its factional presidential candidate.
The party averred that Al-Mustapha was not the preferred candidate, thus, the party was excluded from the poll.
In the petition marked CA/PEPC/04/2023, the APM joined INEC, APC, Tinubu, Kashim Shettima and Kabir Masari, who stood as vice-presidential placeholder during the primaries before he was substituted with Shettima.
The APM is contending that Tinubu and Shettima were not qualified to contest the election on the grounds of the alleged double nomination of the vice president-elect.
In the third petition marked CA/PEPC/02/2023, APP is challenging the outcome of the presidential election.
While the AA claimed that its candidate, Solomon-David Okanigbuan, was excluded from the presidential poll, based on which the election should be voided, the APM is contending that Mr Tinubu was not qualified to contest the election on the grounds of the alleged double nomination of his vice-presidential candidate.
It is also questioning Tinubu’s candidacy on the grounds of the substitution of the initial placeholder, Kabir Masari, with Mr Shettima.
On its parts, the APP claimed that Mr Tinubu was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the poll by virtue of the provisions of Sections 131(c) and 142 of the Constitution and Section 35 of the Electoral Act 2022.
Responding, the APC faulted the claim by the AA that its presidential candidate was excluded from the election, arguing that its known candidate, Mr Al-Mustapha, participated in the election.
It stated that contrary to AA’s claim, Mr Tinubu “was duly elected and returned as the President-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having won the majority of lawful votes cast in the said election devoid of corrupt practices or vices and in substantial compliance with the provisions of Electoral Act 2022 (as amended).”
It argued that the ground on which the AA brought its petition “is not meritorious and facts in support of
same are not availing to validate the petitioners’ claims and/or purported right to present the instant petition.”
The APC added that Mr Okanigbuan (listed as the 2nd petitioner) “is not the 1st petitioner’s AA’s validly nominated and sponsored candidate to contest the presidential elections held on Feb. 25.”
APC also argued that as against the AA’s claim, INEC (listed as the 1st respondent) did not unlawfully exclude Mr Okanigbuan’s name because he was never the lawfully nominated and sponsored candidate of the petitioner, which did not submit his name to INEC as its candidate for the election.
It added that there is no evidence that the AA conducted a valid primary from which Mr Okanigbuan emerged as a candidate, noting that Mr Al-mustapha was the actual candidate of the AA, who was recognised by INEC.