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Presidential tribunal: INEC, Tinubu, Atiku, Obi to adopt final addresses tomorrow

 Atiku kicks as Economic Intelligence Unit predicts victory for Tinubu.

Presidential Election Petition Court

• Atiku kicks as Economic Intelligence Unit predicts victory for Tinubu

The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), sitting in Abuja, is set to deliver its judgment on the three petitions seeking to nullify the election of President Bola Tinubu.

As a precursor to the fixing of the judgment date, the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel has directed all parties to appear before it tomorrow to adopt their final briefs of argument.

The court, in a notice it sent to the parties, invited them to adopt their written address with respect to the petition that was lodged against President Tinubu by a former Vice President and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as well as the one that was filed by candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi.

It will be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had, on March 1, announced that Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) won the presidential election held on February 25, ahead of 17 other candidates that participated in the contest.

It declared that Tinubu scored 8,794,726 votes to defeat the two major contenders, Atiku, who came second with 6,984,520 votes, and Obi, who came third with 6,101,533 votes.

However, dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, both Atiku and Obi approached the court to invalidate it.

The duo, in their separate petitions, claimed they won the presidential poll, even as they challenged Tinubu’s eligibility to contest the election.

The petitioners, aside from praying the court to declare that Tinubu did not secure the majority of lawful votes that were cast at the election, are equally seeking the withdrawal of the Certificate of Return issued to him by INEC.

Alternatively, they are praying the court to order a fresh presidential election, with the exclusion of Tinubu whom they argued was ab-initio, not qualified to participate in the poll.

The Electoral Act 2022 made it mandatory for candidates that were aggrieved by the outcome of the election, to within 21 days after the result was declared by INEC, file a petition before the court which shall deliver its judgment in writing within 180 days.

Meanwhile, Atiku Abubakar has rejected a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), predicting victory for Bola Tinubu at the PEPC.

The EIU is a think tank founded in 1946. It forecasts economic trends, political forces and industry developments in countries around the world.
It combines data, analysis and forecasting to guide informed decisions by businesses and policymakers.

In its latest report on the ongoing court case on the disputed presidential election, released over the weekend, the body said among other things: “Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, won the February presidential election with only 36.6 per cent of the vote.

“The result is being contested in court, but the EIU does not expect it to be overturned. Mr. Tinubu prioritised winning the Muslim north, and calls for secession from the Christian-majority south will grow louder.”

In response, however, Atiku, in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, said the report “is an embarrassment to the think tank.”

Ibe said: “What is also obvious in the report is that it is merchandise purchased by the ruling APC to confuse the country in an uphill task to defend the sham election of February 25, which only retained the ruling party in office.

“Notwithstanding the preponderance of salient issues raised on the credibility of the so-called election by local and foreign observers, it is disappointing that the EIU would condescend to ballot laundering for the ruling party in the most populous black country.

“While we wish to express our intention to apply cautious restraint in responding to the EIU on this disgraceful outing, let this be considered as a stern warning to the body to respect Nigeria’s democracy and the institution of our judiciary, and that next time, they should be more circumspect before they jump on any trade by barter jaundiced reports about Nigeria.”

The Guardian Newspaper Nigeria

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