…Secret meetings, high-level lobbying ongoing
By Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi
The original results of the February 25 presidential election tendered to the election petition tribunal by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, on Thursday, is still causing unpleasant ripples in the camp of his opponent in the election, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Tinubu was the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and was declared winner of the February 25 election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He was sworn in on Monday, May 29, 2023 as Nigeria’s president.
But an informed source in Abuja revealed on Friday that since the tendering of the original results of the presidential election from 115 local government areas of about six states to the tribunal by Obi and his party, tension, fear, anxiety and discomfort have enveloped the camp of Tinubu and those of INEC, Shettima and APC, who are defendants/respondents in the case.
According to the source, the defendants are afraid and worried that the electoral fraud allegedly perpetrated on February 25 and which generated wide condemnation and criticism from the Nigerian masses, may be exposed by the original results tendered by Dr Peter Obi and his party.
“That’s why they’ve been holding emergency nocturnal meetings in the Villa since that Thursday, trying to figure out how to stop the tribunal from disclosing those original results submitted by Obi and citing them as evidence to support his case,” the source explained, noting that lobbying and negotiating with the opposition are some of the alternative options being considered by the Tinubu and APC camps.
The source added: “In fact, their greatest fear is that with those results, the judgment may favour Obi and LP. That’s why their legal teams objected to the admission of the documents as exhibits by the court that day. As it is now, the tension is high in the APC camp and the president is not resting over the matter. But let’s keep our fingers crossed and see what happens at the end of the day.”
But a strong Tinubu supporter in Rivers State who chose to speak under condition of anonymity, dismissed the purported tension in the APC presidential candidate’s camp.
Reacting to the report, the Tinubu supporter said on Friday: “Of course the APC and the Tinubu team may not have welcomed the tribunal’s admission of the results tendered by Labour Party but that doesn’t mean that they are afraid or tensed up over it. The President Tinubu that I know is a man of capacity and is equal to any task. I’m sure they will scale through the hurdle of the case.”
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the February 25 presidential election, Dr Peter Obi, had, on Thursday, tendered certified true copies of results of the election from six states of the federation to the election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja.
The results were obtained from 115 Local Government Areas across Nigeria, 15 of them being from Rivers State.
The first set of results of the election tendered before the court by the former Anambra State goveenor was from 15 out of 22 LGAs of Rivers State.
He was believed to have won massively in most of the polling units in Rivers State, including the polling unit of former governor, Nyesom Wike, who, however, supported and worked for the success of APC’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, a decision the Obio/Akpor-born strong politician has severally said he does not regret.
Perhaps aware of the damaging effects Obi’s ‘original results’ evidence will have on their own claims, INEC, Tinubu and APC’s lawyers strongly opposed their admission by the presidential election petition tribunal.
However, determined to do what is right, the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel went ahead to admit Obi’s evidence.
TPCN gathered that the original results from the 15 LGAs of Rivers State were marked as Exhibits PD 1 to PD 15.
Results from 23 LGAs in Benue State tendered by Obi and also admitted in evidence were marked as Exhibits PC 1 to PC 23, while results from 18 LGAs in Cross River State were added in evidence as Exhibits PD1 – PD 18.
From Niger State, Obi tendered Forms EC8A from 23 LGAs and they were admitted in evidence as Exhibits PE-1 to PE 23, as well as that of 20 LGAs in Osun state which were marked as Exhibits PF 1 – PF 20.
The last set of results Obi and his team tendered in evidence before the tribunal were from 16 LGAs in Ekiti and they were marked as Exhibits PG 1 to PG 16.
All the respondents said they would give reasons why they challenged the admissibility of the presidential election results that Obi and the LP tendered in evidence, in their final written addresses.