Nigerians await with bated breath the verdict of the presidential election tribunal which is due to be made known tomorrow Wednesday, September 6.
Opposition parties, the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and Allied Peoples Movement (APM) are disputing the victory of President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25 polls.
There is a near consensus among international observers that the polls were marked by considerable irregularities that called into question the credibility of the electoral process and the outcome.
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) is made up of judges from Nigeria’s second-highest court of record – The Court of Appeal.
The Labour Party which presented an avalanche of evidence during trial to prove it won the election seemed cocky about tomorrow’s outcome. LP national publicity secretary Obiora Ifoh, said his party is “positive” about tomorrow’s judgment and that “the mandate freely expressed” by voters “will be returned to the rightful winner of the election”.
But the PDP spokesman Segun Showunmi, simply asked that everyone “patiently await the judgment now and we take it on right after”.
President Tinubu will be away in India attending the G20 summit when the judgement is delivered tomorrow. Although he was sworn into office on May 29, he only just two weeks ago constituted his cabinet.
But presidential spokesman Ajuri Ngelale, in an interview tried to calm the nerves of the government supporters worried if their stay in power is shortlived. He said the president “knows he won the election and he believes the great men and women on the panel will make their decisions based only on the facts before them.”
He assured that President Tinubu would respect the institutions of state and the rule of law whatever tomorrow’s verdict.
Nevertheless, the Nigerian electoral laws provide for an appeal of tomorrow’s verdict to the country’s supreme court where nearly all presidential and governorship election disputes in the past have ended. If a loser at the tribunal tomorrow decides to go on appeal, the Supreme Court will have 60 days to deliver a final and constitutionally binding verdict.
The presidential contenders in the opposition are Mr Peter Grigory Obi of the LP, leading an impressive youth-centred mass movement known as the “Obidients” and PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president in 2007.
The APM does not argue it won the election but is in court to disqualify Tinubu on the grounds he did not validly nominate his vice president, Kashim Shettima according to law and guidelines.
The tribunal promised the reading of judgement will be broadcast live on television.
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