It seems the 2023 presidential contest may be determined by the court after all as both the winning and losing parties have enlisted the services of senior advocates of Nigeria (SANs) to argue their cases.
According to a report by Sunday PUNCH, the Labour Party has lined up 20 SANs to challenge the outcome of the exercise on behalf of its presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
Pulse reported that president-elect and the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, was declared winner of the controversial election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.
According to INEC, the former Lagos State governor polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the Labour Party standard-bearer, who scored 6,984,520 and 6,101,533 votes respectively.
It’d be recalled that, during separate press conferences held last week, Obi and Atiku had rejected the results announced by INEC, claiming that the process was marred by massive rigging and manipulation of results.
Meanwhile, sources within the Labour Party told Sunday PUNCH that the 20 SANs, drawn from different chambers across the country, were being supplied with materials that would be used as evidence to upturn the outcome in court.
The National Secretary of the Labour Party, Umar Farouk, told the paper that some lawyers have expressed their interest in joining the legal battle to help Obi prove his case.
Farouk’s words: “We have more than 20 SANs that are willing to participate and offer their services for the renewal and emergence of a new Nigeria. As I am talking to you, our lawyers are working on it.
“But this is not something we can discuss on the pages of a newspaper. All I can tell you is that we have started ‘trekking’ to the court.”
APC reacts: In his reaction, the spokesman of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo (SAN), said Tinubu and the council were not intimidated by the legal threat of the opposition.
Keyamo also told Sunday Punch that the legal directorate of the PCC was putting together a team of more than 12 SANs to defend Tinubu’s mandate amidst claims rigging by the opposition.
Keyamo’s words: “The number of our advocates is around that figure (12). But I can’t confirm the exact figures at the moment. However, it doesn’t matter the number of SANs the Labour Party is parading. It is not a competition.
“I am a lawyer and can tell you specifically that the numbers don’t matter. It is all about the quality of evidence. But I can tell you that we have enough to nullify more of their votes than theirs to nullify our own.”