The election tribunal is set to deliver its ruling on the petitions filed by Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi challenging the victory of Bola Tinubu in the 2023 presidential election. The tribunal has seven options before it, which are:
Affirm Tinubu’s election because infractions observed during the polls were not enough to invalidate the outcome
This is the most likely outcome, as the tribunal must weigh the evidence of irregularities against the margin of Tinubu’s victory. If the tribunal finds that the kinks did not significantly impact the outcome of the election, it is likely to uphold Tinubu’s victory.
Disqualify Tinubu, nullify his election and declare Atiku as the winner
This outcome is possible if the tribunal finds that Tinubu’s candidacy was illegal or that he committed severe electoral fraud. However, it is less likely, as the tribunal must find clear and convincing evidence of wrongdoing.
Cancel Tinubu’s election and declare Obi as winner
This outcome is also possible but is the least likely of the three. The tribunal would need to find that Obi won the election by a majority of lawful votes, even after considering the irregularities.
Cancel the elections and order a fresh poll among the 18 candidates
This outcome is possible if the tribunal finds the irregularities were so widespread that they invalidate the entire election. However, it is also an improbable outcome, as it would be costly and disruptive.
Cancel the elections and order a re-run between the best two
This outcome is more likely than a complete re-run, as it would allow the election to be held more timely. However, it would still be a disruptive process, requiring voters to return to the polls just a few months after the original election.
Order a re-run between Tinubu and Atiku.
This outcome also allows the two leading candidates to compete again without the other 16 candidates in the race. However, it is also a less likely outcome, as it would be seen as giving Tinubu and Atiku an unfair advantage.
The outcome of the tribunal’s ruling will have a significant impact on Nigeria’s political landscape. If Tinubu’s election is upheld, he will remain president. However, if his election is nullified, it will be a significant setback for him and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Atiku and Obi have both argued that irregularities, including vote-buying, ballot box stuffing, and the disenfranchisement of voters, marred Tinubu’s election. They have also accused Tinubu of being ineligible to contest the election because he has dual citizenship.
The tribunal is expected to deliver its ruling on September 6, 2023. The verdict is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court, Nigeria’s highest court.
The following are some of the factors that the tribunal will consider when making its ruling:
The evidence presented by the petitioners.
The lawfulness of Tinubu’s candidacy.
The extent of the irregularities that occurred during the election.
The impact of the anomalies on the outcome of the election.
In addition to the options listed above, the tribunal could adjourn the case or order a fresh hearing. The outcome of the matter is uncertain, but the tribunal’s ruling will be a significant event in Nigeria’s political history.