The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, were absent on Thursday as the Supreme Court delivers judgment on the February 25, 2023 presidential poll.
Also absent in court is President Bola Tinubu, the then-presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) whose victory is being challenged at the apex court.
Following the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the keenly contested election, Atiku and Obi approached the Tribunal to contest the outcome.
After about seven months of legal fireworks, the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) in Abuja, affirmed Tinubu’s electoral victory.
In its ruling on September 6, the Tribunal held that the petitioner —PDP and its candidate Atiku— did not successfully prove the allegations against this ground and indeed all the grounds in their petition.
Justice Haruna Tsammani, leader of the five-man panel, said, “This petition accordingly lacks merit. I affirm the return of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the duly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The parties are to bear their cost.”
Not satisfied with the ruling, Atiku and Obi approached the Supreme Court to appeal the tribunal’s judgment.
The apex court at its last sitting on Wednesday fixed Thursday, October 26 for its verdict on the appeals filed by Atiku and Obi.
The seven justices who will take the landmark decision are Inyang Okoro, Uwani Abba-Aji, Lawal Garba, Ibrahim Saulawa, Adamu Jauro, Abubakar Tijjani and Emmanuel Akomaye Agim
The verdict will be the final court decision on the disputes over the election. It will mark the end of a two-stage judicial battle, the first part of which was decided by the presidential election court in favour of inibu, which was further challenged at the Supreme Court.
Already Senior Advocates of Nigeria and other lawyers are seated at the apex court. Apart from the lawyers, prominent figures including top government officials are also in court to listen to the judgment.
In attendance are the chairmen of the APC and Labour Party, Abdullahi Ganduje and Julius Abure; Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesome Wike, Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribudu, the son of the President, Seyi Tinubu among others.
However, President Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima are conspicuously absent in court. Also noticeably absent are Atiku and his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa as well as Obi and his running mate, Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.