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Breaking: Court Strikes out Portions of Obi’s Claim of Irregularities, Corrupt Practices

The presidential election petition court on Wednesday struck out some paragraphs containing allegations of irregularities and corrupt practices by Mr Peter Obi in his petition challenging the declaration of Bola Tinubu as winner of the February 25 presidential election.

The five member panel struck out the affected paragraphs on the grounds that they were “vague, imprecise, nebulous and failed to meet the requirements of pleadings”.

Ruling in the preliminary objections filed by INEC, Tinubu and APC, Justice Abba Mohammed, who read the ruling held that “averments” must not leave room for confusion or ambiguity, adding that the aim of pleadings is to avail respondents of the facts of the case so as to prepare adequately.

According to the ruling in a case of alleged malpractice in over 500 polling units, it does not suffice for the petitioners to say some polling units or collation centers without being specific.

“Averments must not be general but specific”, Mohammed held that, “petitioners failed to specify polling units where anomalies occurred or where agents complained of alleged malpractice and irregularities.

In addition, the tribunal pointed that amongst the total of over 18, 000 polling units where the petitioners alleged that INEC uploaded “blurred results ” unto the INEC Results Viewing (IReV) Portals, not one polling units was cited.
“They did not specify polling units where election results were not uploaded” or where scores attributed to them was reduced or added to Tinubu”.

“They did not show the majority of votes they claimed they had scored “, the tribunal held, adding that petitioners only make generic allegations of irregularities and malpractice.

Mohammed further faulted the petitioners for relying on a spreadsheet analysis, inspection results and experts reports.

According to Mohammed, such documents ought to be served on the respondents to enable them do their own analysis and respond accordingly.

“The spreadsheet report, inspection results and experts reports were not served but only listed as documents to be relied on in adjudicating the petition”, the court held.

It subsequently went ahead to strike out the affected paragraphs as requested by the petitioners.

Meanwhile, the court declined to dismiss the petition on grounds that Obi and LP failed to join Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, who came second in the February 25 presidential election.

The tribunal held that in an election petition case, the petitioners’ case is between the winner and the electoral body that contested the election.

The tribunal however, has delved into the merit of Obi’s Petition.

Details later…

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