PEPC: War not over!


*As Atiku, Obi reject Tribunal judgement, head to Supreme Court

*We got judgement from the Tribunal not justice, says Atiku’s lawyer, Uche

*Litigants may resort to self-help if… Obi’s lawyer declares

*We must approach S/Court to set aside Tinubu’s election – Atiku, Obi vow

By Kenneth Atavti and Tony Oreki, Awka

The ‘war’ over who was actually elected by Nigerians to occupy the presidential seat at the Aso Rock Villa is not yet over as the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the February 25 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar and his counterpart from the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi have vowed to move to the Supreme to continue their quest for justice.

Atiku and Obi had declared that they were dissatisfied with the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC that affirmed President Tinubu as the valid winner of the presidential poll held on February 25, 2023.

Speaking through his team of lawyers led by Chief Chris Uche, SAN, the PDP candidate, said he only got a judgement from the court and not justice.

“Judgement has just been delivered but we have not received justice. Luckily, the Constitution has given us the right to go on appeal.

“This is the court of first instance. We still have the right to go on appeal to the Supreme Court and you see, this is a struggle that is not just for our client, but for the Constitution of this country, for the rule of law and democracy.

“We were expecting an outcome that will improve, encourage the use of technology to enhance election management, to enhance transparency, to enhance accountability, so that Nigerians will believe in democracy.

“So that Nigerians can come out in their masses like they did, to vote. We don’t want Nigerians to be discouraged.

“There are certain things and principles of law that he knows that we need to explore and we strongly believe that when we get to the Supreme Court, it will have the opportunity to review a number of things that have been said here today”, he said.

On his part, Dr Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, the lawyer of the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi vowed to appeal the judgement of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal that upheld the election of President Bola Tinubu.

Speaking on the judgment that was delivered on Wednesday, he stressed that litigants who are dissatisfied with the outcome of an election may resort to self-help if they continue to find it very difficult to establish their case owing to obstacles from government institutions like the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

He also warned that if care was not taken, sound electoral jurisprudence would disappear in the country.

“If we are not careful, our electoral jurisprudence will eventually disappear. I am saying this with every amount of sincerity because when the litigant, when those who contested the election continue to find it very difficult to establish their case due to obstacles on the way, starting with INEC, certainly they may resort to some other means of trying to get justice, which may not be lawful.

“Also, I commend the Court of Appeal for introducing live streaming. You may recall that we applied to the court to have live streaming of all the proceedings, but the court, in its wisdom, did not grant the application.

“But now, in the end, they saw the wisdom in it and the need to guarantee transparency, hence, live streaming of the judgement.

“Certainly, it would have been better if it was live streaming of the entire proceedings so that the public would have the chance to watch and be able to relate properly with the judgement.

“So, I will hope and pray that this time, it will be continuous, starting from the beginning of a case”, he added.

Meanwhile, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr.Peter has urged Nigerians to maintain their focus, steadfastness, and commitment to peaceful processes while emphasizing the importance of adhering to the rule of law. He also made it clear that the matter has not yet reached its logical conclusion.

Obi who announced this yesterday at Onitsha, the commercial hub of Anambra state, acknowledged the Presidential Election Petition Court’s adherence to statutory time frames, expressed respect for the Court’s views and rulings but openly disagreed with the judgment’s rationale and final conclusions.