Tinubu’s Lawyers Respond To Peter Obi’s Final Written Address

Tribunal
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Wole Olanipekun, the legal representative for President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima, has issued a response to the final written address submitted by the counsels of Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP).

Obi, who is the candidate representing the LP, has contested the victory of Tinubu in the presidential election held on February 25.

In his response filed before the presidential election petition tribunal on Friday, Olanipekun urged the court to dismiss the petition of Obi and the LP, along with their final written address.

The petitioners alleged that Tinubu was ineligible to run for the office of president due to his forfeiture of $460,000 in the US and his failure to secure 25 percent of votes in the federal capital territory (FCT).

In a 14-page response, Tinubu’s legal team argued that Obi and LP had “abandoned” their petition in their final written address.

They requested the court to dismiss the arguments, citing a “clear manifestation and display of abandonment of the entire petition.”

Tinubu’s lawyers pointed out that “Order 22 Rule 5 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019,” which applies to the proceedings, mandates that “a written address shall… contain…(c) the issues arising from the evidence for determination.”

According to Tinubu’s legal team, it is evident from this rule that the petitioners failed to formulate any issue for determination that could be considered or entertained by the honorable court. Therefore, the court cannot consider their address without proper issues for determination being presented by them.

“Arising from the foregoing, this honourable court is urged, as respondents have done in their final address, to dismiss the petition, not only for the reasons and submissions contained in that address, but also for the clear manifestation and display of abandonment of the entire petition.”

Tinubu’s lawyers also argued that the forfeiture made by the president in the US did not arise from a conviction.

“That Non-Conviction Based Forfeiture (NCBF) of the type referenced in Exhibit P5 [is] typically the outcome of an in rem action and does not involve trial or conviction for an offence,” the lawyers argued.

The president’s lawyers said Obi and LP did not address the “purported failure of INEC to supply them Form ECSAS in several polling units” and the allegations of “mutilations, cancellations and outright swapping of votes”.

“Throughout their address, this sweeping statement has not been activated by pointing to any specific Form ECSA, which is caught by their alleged vices, or which contains any figure/votes swapped in favour of the 2nd and 4th respondents, against the petitioners; what the figures are, how the said figures have affected their votes, and how the said conjectured figures have aided the votes of the respondents,” the lawyers said.

“With respect, the entire address, like the petition itself, is a fiction.”

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