Dissatisfied with the conduct of the 2023 general elections, no fewer than 10 of the 18 political parties have filed 431 petitions at the various election tribunals in 27 states of the country to quash the victories of those the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared winners.
There are five petitions against the declaration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as president-elect. This brings the tentative figure of petitions, according to Vanguard’s checks to 436. The figure will be more if those from the remaining nine states are tallied.
Those seeking the nullification of Tinubu’s victory are Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour, LP; and candidates of the Action Alliance, AA; Allied Peoples Movement, APM; and Action Peoples Party, APP.
There are also petitions across the states against the outcomes of some governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and state assembly elections.
Apart from the five parties kicking against the result of the presidential election, other parties at the tribunals include the APC; Social Democratic Party, SDP; New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP; All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA; and Young Progressives Party, YPP.
The number of petitions may rise further after the April 15 supplementary polls for two governorship, five senatorial, 31 House of Representatives, and 57 state assembly slots.
431 petitions in 27 states
Across the states, the tally of petitions are Abia (35), Anambra (31), Ebonyi (2), Enugu (14), Akwa Ibom (15), Bayelsa (9), Cross River (13), Delta (25), Edo (14), Rivers (34), Lagos (30), Ekiti (4), Ogun (18), Ondo (9), Osun (14) and Oyo (20).
Others are Benue (17), Niger (11), Kogi (2), Plateau (16), Adamawa (8), Bauchi (15), Gombe (3), Taraba (7), Yobe (3), Kaduna (18), Katsina (11), Kano (23) and Kebbi (8) among others.
2023 more credible than past polls — INEC source
Speaking on the controversies trailing the 2023 general polls, yesterday, a source in the INEC said the 2023 exercises were the best since 1999.
There was no data on the number of petitions filed in 1999 when three parties – Alliance for Democracy, AD; All Peoples Party, APP; and PDP contested the elections. The AD and APP fielded a joint Presidential Candidate, Chief Olu Falae against PDP’s Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Falae did not challenge Obasanjo’s victory at the tribunal.
However, for the following electoral cycles, there were 564 petitions in 2003; 1,291 in 2007; 732 in 2011; 611 in 2015 and 807 in 2019.
The source said: “The INEC crashed post-election litigation to half of what we had in 2019 with the innovations it introduced such as the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, BVAS, and e-transmission of election results. It is very sad that the commission experienced glitches in the transmission of the presidential election results in real-time from the polling units “The 2023 general elections are like no other. We have never witnessed the kind of upsets we had this year. We had governors and political heavyweights losing elections they should not lose. BVAS ensured that the voter’s list was not padded and votes cast inflated.
“The number of post-election litigation shows how credible the elections were compared to what we had in the past. There are about 400 post-election petitions in 2023. In 2019 we had 807 post-election litigations. The parties complaining fared worse than INEC in organizing primaries. There was 1,370 pre-election litigation in 2023 compared to 370 in 2019.”
Past election petitions
1999-No data; 2003 – 574; 2007-1291; 2011-732; 2015-611; and 2019-807
We’re sure of victory—Atiku’s aide
When contacted, Phrank Shaibu, Special Assistant, Public Communications to the PDP Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar said the party is optimistic about securing victory at the tribunal.
Shaibu said: “We are very optimistic.”
We have water-tight petitions —Osuntokun
Also, the Director-General of the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Chief Akin Osuntokun, said his party has water-tight petitions to get victories at the various tribunals.
He said: “I don’t see how many petitions, numbering in hundreds, can be evidence for credibility; I see it as a twisted logic. In fact, the reverse should be the case. Are you saying 400 people are accusing somebody of theft? If you have 400 complaints of an election conducted, how can that be evidence of credibility? It is exactly the opposite.
“In any case, we have a watertight petition, the evidence is too conspicuous. That is the kind of confidence that we have.
We have evidence against their servers of the results they announced; I don’t know what anybody can say about that.”