By Cynthia Ezekwe.
The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT), sitting in Abuja, has ruled out the allegation by the Labour Party (LP), and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, that the 2023 presidential election was rigged in favour of President Bola Tinubu.
The court, in its preliminary ruling by Justice Abba Mohammed, held that the Obi/LP petition of election malpractice was a generic accusation of irregularities as they failed to specify the anomaly, the places where it occurred and those affected.
The court noted that whereas Obi and the LP, insisted that the election was rigged in 18, 088 polling units across the federation, they were unable to state the locations of the said polling units.
It stressed that though Obi and LP said they would rely on spreadsheets as well as forensic reports and expert analysis of their expert witnesses, they failed to attach the documents to the petition or serve the same on the respondents as required by the law.
In a decisive statement, the tribunal emphasized, “Pleading must set out material facts and particulars. In the instant petition, there was no effort to prove specific allegations, particulars of complaints.”
According to the tribunal, the law is clear that where someone alleges irregularities in a particular polling unit, such person must prove the particular irregularities in that polling unit before that petition can succeed.
Therefore, the tribunal held that though the petition contained serious allegations that bordered on violence, non-voting, suppression of votes, fictitious entry of election results and corrupt practices, the Petitioners, however, failed to give particulars of specific polling units where the alleged complaints of irregularities took place.