In a unanimous judgment, a seven-man team of Nigeria’s Supreme Court has thrown out both opposition challenges to President Bola Tinubu’s election win. They are petitions of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that of Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP).
However, Justice John Inya Okoro who delivered the lead judgement remarked that the inability of the electoral commission to transmit result to the commission’s I-Rev portal actually reduced the peoples ‘confidence in the electoral process. He however noted that the electoral commission did not err by not transmiting the election result to the I-Rev portal, which was the major contention of the petitioners.
The two main opposition candidates had sought to reverse February’s presidential election, alleging it was marred by irregularities.
The Election Petition Court upheld Mr Tinubu’s victory last month, but the opposition insisted Nigeria’s highest court should quash the judgement.
A presidential election result has never been overturned in Nigeria.
In a unanimous decision, a panel of seven justices first dismissed the challenge by Atiku Abubakar, who came second in the poll, and then rejected a similar one from Peter Obi, who came third.
“It is my view that there is no merit in this appeal and it is hereby dismissed,” said Justice John Inyang Okoro of the case made by Mr Abubakar’s Peoples Democratic Party.
The election was the most fiercely contested since the end of military rule in 1999, with three strong candidates for the first time. Mr Tinubu won with 37% of votes cast, against 29% for Mr Abubakar and 25% for Mr Obi.
With the challenge to his victory finally put to rest, President Tinubu is now expected to focus on how to pull the country out of its current economic crisis.
Nigeria is currently battling a cost-of-living crisis following the removal of a massive fuel subsidy – a situation that has pushed many Nigerians into multi-dimensional poverty.