President Bola Tinubu has requested that the justices of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PREPEC) in Abuja exclude Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), from any potential rerun presidential election. Tinubu claims that only he and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, are constitutionally eligible to participate in a recontest. Tinubu argues that if the justices void the February 25, 2023, presidential election, Obi and the LP would not be qualified to run again. Obi’s counsel, on the other hand, urges the five-member panel of the PREPEC not to undermine the will of the people as expressed in the February 25 presidential election.
They stress that Tinubu should be removed from office without delay. Tinubu criticizes both Obi and the LP for seeking to cancel the election and compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh poll in which Tinubu, Shettima, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) would not participate. He argues that if the relief is granted, Obi and the LP would not benefit as they are constitutionally prohibited from contesting the rerun election.
President Tinubu’s arguments were expressed in his final written address in response to Obi and the LP’s petition challenging his declaration as president. Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC chairman, declared Tinubu the winner of the February 25 presidential election with 8,794,726 votes while Atiku and Obi reportedly received 6,984,520 votes and 6,101,533 votes, respectively. Both Obi and Atiku claim victory, as each of them received the majority of lawful votes cast. Alternatively, they ask the court to order a rerun election to determine the true winner of the poll. However, Tinubu states that, “In the highly unlikely scenario that the February 25, 2023, election is voided, the only candidates constitutionally authorized to participate in any subsequent election will be the second respondent and the PDP candidate, who obtained the next highest number of votes in the greatest number of states (19 states).”