The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Court in Abuja has strict security measures in place.
Over 50 police officers have surrounded the premises as pre-hearing sessions on applications challenging the outcome of the 2023 presidential election begin.
Lawyers for the parties involved in the case are also in large numbers, waiting outside the courtroom, which is still locked at the time of this report.
The presidential candidates of the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party, Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar, have responded to preliminary objections filed against their petitions contesting Bola Tinubu’s declaration as winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
On April 21, Obi’s legal team requested a pre-hearing notice in their petition in a letter to the Secretary of the Presidential Election Court. The letter was approved by the court, allowing for a pre-hearing hearing.
According to the pre-hearing form filled out by Obi’s legal team, they are seeking subpoenas, objections, enforcement of court orders not obeyed by INEC, and other applications arising during the hearing.
Other pre-hearing responses and applications submitted by all petitioners and respondents will be heard as well.
In his petition, Obi had previously accused Tinubu and INEC of corrupt practises and noncompliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022. He claimed that the electoral umpire tampered with election results in approximately 18,000 polling units against him while refusing to use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machine, which is required by the Electoral Act to accredit voters and upload results in real-time.
Atiku also claimed Tinubu was constitutionally barred from running in the election because of his alleged dual citizenship, among other things.
INEC, Tinubu, and his political party, the All Progressives Congress, responded to Obi and Atiku’s claims, requesting that the tribunal dismiss Obi’s petition for abuse of the court process.
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