The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP) have expressed disappointment over the judgement of the Supreme Court, which affirmed the election victory of Bola Tinubu.
The Supreme Court, on Thursday, dismissed the appeals brought against Tinubu by the PDP and Atiku Abubakar, its presidential candidate in the Feb. 25 election as well as LP’s Peter Obi.
The seven judges in the apex court, led by Justice John Iyang Okoro, unanimously upheld the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal’s (PEPT) judgement that upheld Tinubu’s victory and dismissed the case brought by Atiku, Obi, PDP and LP for lack of merit.
The court rejected Atiku’s application to tender fresh evidence against Tinubu.
It said Atiku’s application to tender fresh evidence from Chicago State University against Tinubu is in violation of the Electoral Act.
The apex court also upheld the ruling of the PEPT that a candidate does not need 25 percent of votes in the Federal Capital Territory to be declared winner of the presidential election.
The PDP described the judgement of the Supreme Court as “disappointing”.
A statement by Debo Ologunagba, its national publicity secretary, said the party and “majority of Nigerians are alarmed, disappointed and gravely concerned with the reasoning of the Supreme Court which the PDP believes is against the express provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act, 2022, the Guideline and Regulation issued by INEC under which the election was conducted.”
The party said: “Nigerians earnestly expected the Supreme Court to uphold and defend the clear provisions of the 1999 Constitution in terms of qualification and minimum requirement for a winner to be declared in a Presidential election in Nigeria, especially with regards to the required statutory 25 percent of votes in the FCT as well as issues of violation of electoral rules and guidelines, brazen manipulations and alterations of election results by the APC.
“Nigerians are still at a loss as to how the Supreme Court condoned the serious issues of forgery, falsehood and perjury on the altar of technicalities.
“The PDP remains undeterred and charges Nigerians not to be discouraged or allow the judgment to detract from their collective quest for the entrenchment of a credible electoral system that can guarantee a government that truly derives its legitimacy from the people.”
The LP said it was shocked by the verdict.
Julius Abure, national chairman of the party, in a statement he personally signed, said the party “watched as the sacred fabric of justice and good conscience was shredded”.
He said: “We are indeed very shocked and surprised that even the apex court will toe the line of an earlier judgement in spite of all the flaws associated with the judgment delivered by the Presidential Election Appeal Tribunal.
“Having conclusively exercised our fundamental rights as gifted to us by the laws of the land, we have no other choice but to move on. We may be disappointed and dismayed by the outcome of the exercise but we have chosen to trudge on and to remain optimistic of what the future holds for the nation.
“We weep for our institutions that cannot rise to the occasion and courageously defend democracy and the voices of our people.”
Abure added: “It is very clear that the executive has hijacked both the judiciary and the legislature. This is so unfortunate for our democracy and even more for the people of Nigeria.
“All that our forebears taught us has been destroyed within a short space of time because of the unbridled ambition of a few. The founding fathers fought with their lives to achieve independence for the country.
“People lost their lives in the struggle to keep our democracy and all these years people have been struggling to achieve electoral and constitutional reforms. Regrettably, all of these efforts and struggles have been destroyed today.”
Meanwhile, President Tinubu has urged Nigerians to join hands with him to rebuild the country.
He said: “The court has done justice to all issues put up for consideration in the petitions on the merits of the law, without fear or favour.
“There is no doubt, with the profound judgment of today, that our electoral jurisprudence and constitutional democracy are further consolidated and embedded more indelibly in our national identity because of the diligence and undaunted professionalism of the honourable justices who presided over the matter.”
He said the judgment has rekindled his faith in the judiciary.
Tinubu said: “I want to reiterate that my faith in our nation’s judiciary has never been shaken, not even for a moment, because I know that our hallowed courts of law will not fail to administer justice to all Nigerians in all matters and at all times.
“Despite the fusillade of pressure and attempts at intimidation by some political actors, the judiciary demonstrated its unequivocal commitment to upholding the rule of law for the upliftment and defence of humanity.
“It was affirmed once more today that my party, the governing All Progressives Congress, had freely and fairly won the popular mandate of Nigerians, which has since given rise to my leadership of this great nation at a tumultuous period of unprecedented reforms in our history as a nation.”