The Supreme Court, in a recent ruling, has upheld the election of Bola Tinubu as the President of Nigeria in the 2023 general election. This decision comes after a legal challenge by Tinubu’s opponents, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party.
Atiku and Obi had requested the court to declare them as the winners of the election and nullify Tinubu’s election, as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). However, both appeals were dismissed, leading them to approach the Supreme Court for further review.
During the proceedings, Atiku attempted to introduce new evidence of alleged forgery against Tinubu. However, the appeal was rejected as it was not part of the initial prayer at the tribunal and the time for filing new evidence had expired.
Justice John Okoro stated that the appellants did not seek an extension of time or apply to amend their appeal to include the issue of forgery. Even if they had, it would not have been granted.
Regarding the argument that Tinubu failed to secure 25% of votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Tribunal, which treated Abuja/FCT as the 37th state in Nigeria for the purpose of calculating the two-thirds majority required for a presidential candidate to be declared the winner.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court ruled that the election of President Tinubu cannot be nullified due to the failure of INEC to transmit electronic results. Justice Okoro emphasized that the unavailability of the iREV system cannot serve as a basis for the nullification of the election, as it did not affect the overall outcome.
Additionally, the Supreme Court dismissed Obi’s appeal to remove Tinubu from office based on the double nomination of vice president Kashim Shettima. The justices stated that this matter had already been addressed in a previous judgement by the Supreme Court.
Notably, in May, the Supreme Court had previously dismissed the suit filed by the PDP, asserting that the party lacked the legal standing (locus standi) to institute the suit.