ABUJA, (Reuters) – Nigeria’s main opposition candidates will appeal a tribunal ruling that affirmed Bola Tinubu’s victory in a disputed presidential election in February that they claim was marred by irregularities, their lawyers said.
Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party and Labour Party’s Peter Obi, who came second and third respectively, had asked the court to cancel the election, alleging everything from vote fraud to failure by the electoral agency to post results electronically. They wanted Tinubu to be disqualified.
But the Presidential Election Petition Court on Wednesday dismissed their petitions point-by-point in a judgment that lasted more than 11 hours.
The ruling followed a pattern seen in previous election years in Africa’s most populous country, where no legal challenge to the outcome of a presidential election has succeeded since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999.
Obi’s lawyer Livy Uzoukwu told reporters his team would read the full judgment and make an appeal at the Supreme Court.
“We have the firm instruction of our client to challenge the judgment on appeal. Once we have it (judgment) we will swing into action,” he said.
Atiku’s lead counsel, Chris Uche said “we have not received justice” and would also file an appeal, adding “the struggle continues.”
An appeal at the Supreme Court should be filed within 14 days from the date of the tribunal ruling. The apex court then has 60 days to hear the case and make its ruling.