Supreme Court Approves Live Broadcast of Verdict for Atiku and Obi’s Appeals


In an unprecedented decision, the Supreme Court granted permission for live television coverage of its judgement in the legal dispute surrounding the presidential election held on February 25.

This decision was made just 15 minutes before the scheduled start time, with a seven-man panel led by Justice Inyang Okoro set to deliver the judgement.

The Supreme Court was heavily secured, with armed personnel stationed at all entry points and access routes blocked by security vehicles. Only individuals on the accreditation list were permitted to enter, with mandatory security scans for everyone entering the court hall.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court to Announce Verdict on Atiku and Obi’s Appeals Against Tinubu on Thursday

Notable figures present for the judgement included the Minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike, the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu, Femi Gbajabiamila, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Ganduje, and representatives from other political parties.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had on March 1, announced that Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, won the presidential contest, ahead of 17 other candidates that participated in the poll.

 It declared that he garnered a total of 8,794,726 votes to defeat his two major rivals, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who came second with a total of 6,984,520 votes, and Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party, who came third with a total of 6,101,533 votes. 

However, dissatisfied with the outcome of the poll, both Obi and Atiku, alongside their political parties, initiated legal actions to invalidate it. 

The duo, in separate appeals they lodged through their respective team of lawyers, challenge the return of Tinubu as the valid winner of the presidential poll. 

A major plank upon which the litigants rested their cases included the claim that President Tinubu was at the time the election held, not qualified to contest.

They maintained that the election was characterized by manifest corrupt practices, substantial non-compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC’s Manual/Guidelines for the conduct of the election.

 The appellants further queried Tinubu’s eligibility to occupy the presidential seat, insisting that he was previously indicted and fined the sum of $460,000.00 by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Case No: 93C 4483, for an offence involving dishonesty and drug trafficking.

According to them, such indictment, constituted a ground for disqualification under section 137 (1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

Besides, the petitioners stressed that Tinubu did not satisfy the provision of section 134 (2) (b) of the Constitution, as he failed to secure 25% votes in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. They maintained that Tinubu did not secure the majority of valid votes that were cast during the election to be declared the winner. 

Specifically, they prayed the apex court to allow their appeals and set aside the September 6 judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, which not only dismissed their petitions as lacking in merit, but also affirmed President Tinubu’s victory. 

Both Atiku and Obi are separately claiming that they won the election, even as they urged the court to either declare them as validly elected President or in the alternative, order a fresh or rerun poll.

A seven-man panel of the apex court led by Justice John Inyang Okoro, reserved judgement on the appeals, after all the parties adopted their respective briefs of argument last Monday.

Other members of the apex court panel that will determine the cases are; Justices Uwani Abba-Aji, Lawal Garba, Ibrahim Saulawa, Adamu Jauro, Abubakar Tijjani and Emmanuel Akomaye Agim. 

Atiku had before the substantive appeals were okayed for judgement, prayed the apex court to admit a fresh evidence he obtained from the Chicago State University, CSU, in the United States of America, which he said would establish that President Tinubu tendered forged certificate to the INEC, in aid of his qualification to participate in the election.