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Ahead of the take-off of legal battles challenging the outcome of the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria, the two main contenders – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) would this week take the fight to reclaim their mandate out of the shores of Nigeria to far away United States of America.

An event which is tagged “Mother of all protest rallies,” was being put together by, “The Coalition of Nigerian Organisations in the United States” and was expected to take place at the White House Lafayette Square between May 6th and 8th, 2023.

It was gathered that it would be followed by a World press conference, to be hosted by the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO).

The mega protest would also see several Nigerians from the political and economic spheres speaking to global audience on the current political situation in the country

Those listed to speak at the rally with the theme: ‘Democracy Under Threats in Nigeria,’ include the Vice Presidential candidates of the PDP, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and that of the LP, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.

Others include the Director-General of the PDP campaign Council and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal; Pedro Obaseki, the PDP Director, Research and Strategy; Pat Utomi, a Labour Party Chieftain; Valentine Ozigbo of the Labour Party, as well as Aisha Yesufu, a business woman and an activist.


The World Press Conference with the Theme: “Nigeria at a Crossroads: 2023 Elections Postmortem, Issues, Contradictions, and Solutions,” would take place at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, 13th Floor, Washington DC 20045

The rally and speeches are expected to focus on several topics, including, “Nigerians Eye on Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Nigerians Eye on Court of Appeal, Nigerians Eye on Supreme Court and Nigerians Eye on Police, Military, and DSS”


This is coming ahead of the commencement of the legal battles as barring any unforeseen circumstances or last minute changes, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) that would determine the petitions of Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi and three other candidates at the February 25 presidential election would commence sitting from Monday May 8 next week.

A source at the tribunal Secretariat, who disclosed this, pleaded anonymity.


He however hinted that members of the five-member panel that would hear the various petitions against the declaration of Bola Tinubu as President-elect have already been constituted and are ready to do justice in the matter.

Hearing in the petitions is coming over two months after the cause of action which is March 1, the date INEC had announced Tinubu as winner.

According to constitutional provisions, the tribunal is saddled with a time frame of 180 days within which to hear and deliver judgment in an election matter.

While petitioners by law must file their grievances against the election within 21 days of the declaration, the respondents are to also reply within 21 days. By law, the petitioners are also allowed to respond to the reply of the respondents before hearing commences.


As at today, INEC, Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have responded to the various appeals, asking the court in their respective Notice of Preliminary Objections (NPO) to dismiss the various petitions for lacking in merit.

Besides their NPO, the respondents also faulted the various petitions and denied allegations made against them as well as the outcome of the election.


However, following the reply of the petitioners’ last week the coast appeared cleared for proper hearing to commence.

According to the source, the members of the panel which would be led by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-mensem are amongst those who have been handling cases involving the petitioners.

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They included Justice Joseph Ikyegh, who have been leading two other members in some panels that heard Atiku and Obi’s request for access to inspect INEC’s materials; Justice Stephen Adah, Justice Abba Mohammed and Justice Haruna Tsammani.

THISDAY gathered that all the four interested parties have put together a team comprising 90 Senior lawyers, mainly Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), to do the legal battles.


Sections 132 (7) and (8) of the Electoral Act 2022, allows for petitions to be filed within 21 days after the declaration of results. The respondents have 21 days to respond, while the court has 180 days to decide.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria had put together, a team of senior judicial officers drawn from State High Court, FCT High Court, Federal High Court and National Industrial Court, to preside over the Petition Tribunals.


The PEPT sitting in Abuja, the nation’s capital, is made up of five Justices of the Court of Appeal to be led by the President of the Court, Bolna’an Dongban-Mensem.

Other members include Justices Haruna Tsammani, Jonah Adah, Bello Mohammed and Joseph Ikyegh.

The President – elect and the APC candidate, Bola Tinubu tops the pack with an assemblage of over 50 lawyers, followed by the PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar’s 19, while the LP candidate,

Peter Obi has 12 and INEC 9, all within the ranks of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).


This shows that while the President- elect Bola Tinubu and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who are defending the election have 59 lawyers, the two main petitioners who are the main opposition candidates have a combined team of 31 lawyers, all made up of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN).

Renowned legal practitioner, Wole Olanipekun is leading the legal team of Bola Tinubu, which comprised of Akin Olujimi, Yusuf Ali, Lateef Fagbemi, A.U Mustapha, Ahmed Raji, Abiodun Owonikoko, Kemi Pinheiro, and Niyi Akintola.

Other are H.M. Liman, Taiwo Osipitan, Babatunde Ogala, Roland Otaru , James Onoja, Muiz Banire, Olusola Oke and Mohammed Abubakar.

INEC with a budget of over N3 billion to defend the results of the February 25 presidential and national assembly elections and the March 18 governorship and state assembly polls, has put together, a team of lawyers comprising nine Senior Advocates of Nigeria.

The former Nigerian Bar Association President, Abubakar Mahmoud, is leading the INEC team comprising Stephen Adehi, Oluwakemi Pinheiro, Miannaya Essien, and Abdullahi Aliyu.

Others are Garba Hassan, Musa Attah, and Patricia Obi.

On the other hand, leading the Atiku’s legal team is Kyari Gadzama, who is leading others including Chris Uche (SAN), Paul Usoro (SAN), Tayo Jegede (SAN), Ken Mozia (SAN), Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Mahmood Magaji (SAN), Joe Abraham (SAN), Chukwuma Umeh (SAN), Garba Tetengi (SAN) and Emeka Etiaba (SAN).

Others are Goddy Uche (SAN), Maxwell Gidado (SAN); the National Legal Adviser of the PDP, A. K. Ajibade (SAN), O. M. Atoyebi, (SAN), Nella Rabana (SAN), Paul Ogbole (SAN), Nuremi Jimoh (SAN), and Abdul Ibrahim (SAN).

Peter Obi’s legal team, also made up of Senior Advocates of Nigeria ( SAN), has Livy Uzoukwu, Awa Kalu, Onyechi Ikpeazu, P.I.N. Ikwueto, Ben Anyachebe, S.T. Hon, Arthur Okafor, Ik Ezechukwu, J.S. Okutepa, Valerie Azinge, Emeka Okpoko, and Alex Ejesieme.

Amongst the several issues, PDP and the LP are challenging the independent National Electoral Commission’s declaration of the APC candidate, Bola Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 Presidential election, asserting that that the election was conducted in gross violation of provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act.

The PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar has also filed a petition, urging the tribunal to, “disqualify the APC candidate and President elect, Nola Tinubu on the grounds of “ dual citizenship” for holding a Passport of Republic of Guinea,

Relying on Section 137 (1)(a) of the Nigerian Constitution which says a “person will not be qualified to be president if “he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria.” the PDP candidate urged the tribunal to disqualify Tinubu as he was not qualified to seek the Nigeria’s highest office in the first instance

But INEC in their response, declared that presidential election was conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022.

Both the APC and INEC, in their separate replies to the LP and Obi petition’s asked the court to deny them all the reliefs sought on the grounds that their petition is “devoid of any merit and also founded on frivolity”.

The APC also filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection to the hearing of the petition on the grounds that the petition is incompetent and lacking in merit,

The party also queried tribunal’s power to hear the petition, adding that it lacked necessary jurisdiction to entertain it in the first place.

Amongst others, APC claimed that the Labour Party lacked the necessary locus standi to initiate the suit against the outcome of the presidential election on the grounds that it did “not present a valid candidate for that election.”

Source: This Day

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