Abuja, Nigeria — In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court of Nigeria has upheld the election of Bola Tinubu as the President of Nigeria in the 2023 general election. The verdict comes after a legal challenge mounted by Tinubu’s main opponents, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party.
Both Atiku and Obi contested the election results and sought to have Tinubu’s victory nullified, presenting their case before the Supreme Court after initial dismissal at lower courts. Atiku attempted to introduce new evidence of alleged forgery against Tinubu but was rebuffed by the Supreme Court. Justice John Okoro, heading the proceedings, pointed out that the appeal had not been part of the initial prayer at the tribunal, and the time limit for submitting new evidence had lapsed.
“The lower court, bound by the provisions of Section 285 Sub 6 of the state constitution regarding election petitions, has lost its jurisdiction, so we cannot consider it,” Justice Okoro emphasized.
The Supreme Court further addressed the argument that Tinubu’s election should be nullified because he failed to secure 25% of the votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The Court upheld the Tribunal’s decision that Abuja/FCT should be treated as the 37th state in Nigeria for calculating the two-thirds majority required for a presidential candidate to be declared the winner of an election.
Additionally, the Supreme Court determined that the absence of electronic transmission of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not warrant the nullification of the election. Justice Okoro stated, “The unavailability of the iREV cannot be a ground for the nullification of the election. The failure to transmit results to iREV did not affect the results of the election.”
The Court also dismissed an appeal by Peter Obi, who sought Tinubu’s removal due to the double nomination of Vice President Kashim Shettima. The justices contended that this matter had been addressed in a previous Supreme Court judgment.
It’s noteworthy that the Supreme Court had previously dismissed the suit filed by the PDP, affirming that the PDP lacked the locus standi to institute the suit.
In summary, the Supreme Court’s rulings solidify Bola Tinubu’s victory in the 2023 presidential election, and they serve as a significant legal precedent in electoral matters, particularly regarding the treatment of the FCT and electronic transmission of results. The decisions have put an end to the legal challenges against the election results and affirmed the legitimacy of Tinubu’s presidency.