Below is the final and comprehensive submission by Peter Obi Lawyers yesterday in Court of Appeal ;
The clerk has now called the case.
Peter Obi is now up with smiles all over: Respectfully my lord, I am Mr. Peter Obi for the petitioners
APC: With utmost humility, my lord, I am Saturday Monsignia for the 2nd Respondent.
Labour Party and Peter Obi – SAN Livy Uzoukwu
INEC – SAN AB Mahmoud
Tinubu and Shettima – SAN Olanipekun
APC – SAN L.O Fagbemi
INEC’s lead counsel SAN AB Mahmoud is now up, and he’s suggesting the petitioners start first.
SAN Livy: They filed before we did, so they have to go first.
Justice Tsammani: AB Mahmoud, please let’s start.
SAN AB Mahmoud: Yes, my lord, my colleague will take it up from here.
Another INEC lawyer stands up to continue.
INEC: My lord, the 1st respondent written address was filed on 14th July 2023, and we also filed the reply of the point of law on 28 July 2023
Before I go on, I want to make a slight correction, my lord. On the 3rd line of the reply of point of law there’s “have” and it should be “do not have”
And after that I wish to adopt this my lord.
There’s now currently an adjustment on the 3rd line, and the judges are looking through.
Tinubu and Shettima’s lawyers are now up.
SAN Olanipekun: My lord, my colleague, will lead this proceeding for the 2nd respondent.
2nd respondent: We filed a response on 23rd July 2023. Upon receipt of the reply of the petitioners then it became pertinent to file our reply of point of law, which we did on the 27 July 2023, and we seek that my lordships strike out these petitioners request.
Thank you, my lord.
SAN Fagbemi is now up for APC
Fagbemi: We filed a reply on 23rd July 2023 and then we filed on point of law on receipt of the petitioners address and the point of law was filed on 27th of July and served on 28th of July.
We now seek to adopt this and reply on these due processes, and we urge my able lords to reject and discountenance those petitioners’ documents. Very much obliged, my lords.
SAN Livy is now up on his feet
SAN Livy: My lord, my learned colleague SAN Kalu will lead this case today.
SAN Kalu is now up on his feet
SAN Kalu: My lord, the reply was filed against the 1st respondents on the 14th of July, and with humility, I adopted these replies.
Justice Tsammani: Mention all your replies and adopt. You’re mixing the whole thing.
Let’s finish with the respondents’ objection and come to yours.
SAN Kalu: I am responding to the 1st respondent, my lord
Justice Tsammani: Respond to all at once
SAN Kalu: My lord it’s division of Labour. My learned colleague here is to handle the 2nd and 3rd respondents.
Justice Tsammani: No, we can’t allow that. You have to do it all at once.
Justice Ugo: I think your economics teacher was too thorough with the division of Labour
SAN Kalu: My lord, we just want to do it how it would be easier, but no problem.
Justice Tsammani: It’s even a coincidence, you’re from Abia State, and my Economics Teacher in Maiduguri was also from Abia
SAN Kalu: Then my lord, you should be paying me tithes
SAN Livy: My lord, Anichebe SAN would continue with the objections.
SAN Anichebe: My lord, the first objection was filed on the 23rd of July 2023.
Which is the objection filed against documents submitted by 1st respondents.
My lord, the objection filed by the petitioner against the 2nd and 3rd respondents was filed on the 20th of July 2023.
My lord, we respectfully adopt the arguments canvassed in 2 processes in opposition of the documents rendered by all the respondents, and we seek that you sustain our objections here, too.
Justice Tsammani: Please note that we would use 10 minutes each for adoptions and then 20 minutes each for oral submission of your final address.
SAN AB Mahmoud: Thank you, my lord. My lord on 14th July 2023 we filed our final address and then we filed the reply on 20th of July 2023 and these are the processes filed by the 1st respondent and we seek your humble permission to take our prayers and dismiss this petition as it lacks merit and should be dismissed by the court.
I will seek your indulgence to clarify.
On page 15 of our written address, we listed issues, and the first issue listed B has to do with the petioners’ complaints of noncompliance and other regulations and guidelines by the 1st respondent.
The technology introduced by the 1st respondent was misunderstood and misconstrued by the petitioners, and the purpose was not well understood.
What was introduced, cited by the petitioners, is on the BVAs, which was solely used for the authentication of voters and upload of results from the PU to the IREV portal.
The evidence before the court shows clearly that the 1st respondent went to great length to ensure that the technology functioned as designed.
The only points of disagreement are 2:
1. The petitioners have constructed in their mind that the electronic method be used to collate result and No evidence was presented to support this by the petitioners and the 1st respondent through its witness has certified that there is nothing like electronic collation but manual collation which was carried out impeccably.
There has been no electronic collation in any election in this country because it does not exist.
2. The petitioners claim this glitch was humanly done to give room for manipulation of election results, and no evidence was given by them to prove it.
We have brought evidence to show that this glitch is not unusual to technology, especially new technologies.
INEC: My lord, the allegation of the so-called 88,000 blurred results should be discarded because they do not in any way suggest that the original copies of the result sheets are also blurred. They have still not provided any form EC8A original copies from their agents to prove the 88,000 blurred results.
My lord, the petitioners brought up the 88,000 blurred issue just for dramatisation without evidence.
“The whole courtroom shouts ahhh”
The glitch which was for 4 hours 15 minutes did not affect the presidential election and there is no evidence of any manipulation of the result and I seek my lord to discountenance all statement of noncompliance from the petitioners.
Justice Ugo: This is a glitch, too
AB Mahmoud: Yes, even the courtroom has glitches
INEC: Now on the 25% of FCT is in relation to the interpretation of the constitution section 134 that candidates must score 25% on two-thirds of the state and the FCT, my lords, do not listen to approach that are not constitutional. FCT in accordance of 299 is to be taken as a State and nothing more, nothing less and not elevated to a status it does not hold or ascribe superiority as that has never been the intention of the constitution.
Justice Tsammani: Your time is up
AB Mahmoud: My time for my submission is up
“Everyone is laughing”
Justice Tsammani: Don’t worry. You still have more time on earth.
AB Mahmoud: I plead that this petition be dismissed. Thank you.
Tinubu and Shettima’s lawyer, SAN Olanipekun, is now up and starts with a banger:
O: My lord, let us take it that the petitioners have no case in this court, yes, because they don’t have a case here.
O: Look at exhibit X1, pages 22 and 23 of the decision at the Supreme Court states that this exhibit X1 settles the matter and it’s the case of APC Vs Labour Party and others and it’s very fresh from the oven.
Let me go to hype being made on FINE and let me draw your attention to section 137 1D of the constitution, and we have made submissions, and it says “he is under a statement of debt”
It’s simple grammar, he didn’t say was
It says he is under
It’s present tense, present continuous”
My lord, the law says 10 years after any offence is gone, so even though there is anything, the law has cleared it.
This is the constitution, and in secondary school, we were taught past tense and past participle and present tense.
My lord on 25% on FCT
Let me say this: Oh, bended knees (but he is still standing, oh)
My lord on bended knees (Baba you’re still standing, oh)
My lord FCT is like every other state. It is a state.
My lord, again the 1st petitioner has no locus standi because the constitution has taken him out of participating in any election rerun even if there’s going to be because the candidate must be the candidate who has the highest of vote and 1 among of the remaining candidates which is PDP which has the majority of votes in the states cast in the elections
He is not, so he can not even be in any rerun
Lastly, to show that he is not a member of Labour Party exhibit shows he can not run because he’s not a member, he can not push the 2nd person and claim 2nd.
Justice Tsamamni: But if you’re entering a bus in Lagos
“The whole courtroom is laughing”
APC lawyer is now up.
Fagbemi: My lord as simple as it is, I join my learned colleagues, SAN AB Mahmoud and my leader SAN Wole Olanipekun to say that this case should be quickly dismissed as it’s a waste of time.
This petition is ambitious (na wa oh, English)
This is the petitioners fourth coming on the case of electronic collation.
The first one was in Federal High Court here in Abuja and they abandoned it and ran to Lagos and that case lasted 8 days and they went to court of appeal and it was disastrous for them because they lost. We have presented this in exhibit X1.
Now they are here again about electronic collation.
It is a gross abuse of court time.
Fagbemi: If anyone wants to attack any result, there has to be a PU by PU allocation and proof because there was a glitch in PU A but none in B but the petitioners said there was no glitch in their own places they won and they should at least have their proof but have none and it is abysmally lacking in this case.
Now, on the issue of Rerun, it should be a 2 man race, and that is between the winner of the election and the runner-up, and that has nothing to do with the petitioner.
“APC are actively looking for a rerun, they now know there is nowhere to run to”
I thought you people said you won.
They don’t want Peter Obi and Labour Party on the ballot. That is their game now.
Fagbemi: My lord, so on disqualification, everyone can run in an election rerun as long as you’ve run in the election.
“Wait oh, it’s like someone has fainted oh”
Awww, one APC baby lawyer is having breathing problems, I hope she gets okay”
The court is waiting for them to take her out and give her the attention she needs. Hope she gets better.
Fagbemi: My lord, on the issue of forfeiture, the court already gave the 2nd respondent a clean bill of health on that.
Then on 25% of FCT, the constitution states 25 States of the federation even if the candidate scores 0 in FCT 25% in 25 States stands and there is no dispute that the 2nd respondent scored 25% in 29 States and to put FCT higher would amount to constitutional absurdity.
“One INEC lawyer just stood up and crossed over to pass a note to Fagbemi”
I don’t know if that is allowed.
Fagbemi: My lord on the glitches (Fagbemi started sounding like he was crying, and his voice became funny)
“Everyone started laughing while he was talking, and it was difficult to hear him.
One baby lawyer ran and gave him water”
Justice Ugo: It’s a voice glitch
“Everyone starts laughing”.
Fagbemi: Yes my lord, since time is up, let me say that INEC scored a high mark in this election at least 50% is a pass mark and INEC scored 90% which is more than enough of the petitioners are only complaining about glitch.
So my lord, I seek that this petition be thrown out.
SAN Livy is now up with the microphone: testing testing 123
SAN Livy: My lord, it is my submission that the respondents have laboured in vain to diminish this petition.
SAN Livy: As the case of Oyetola Vs INEC where the Supreme Court said IREV is part of electoral process, my lords, I will seek your indulgence to refer you to paragraph 22 of the witness disposition of RW1 which all the respondents have preferred to ignore and I will like to further drag them out of their uncomfortable zone.
The witness, their own witness, said the authentic portal on which results can be accessed for review or determination of the election is the IREV Portal.
Now, they are saying that IREV is no more important.
An election where 88,000 blurred results were uploaded on this IREV is a flawed election.
Livy: My lord, INEC gave results to the petitioners to present in this court and 88,123 of those results were blurred and they were certified by the same INEC and some were even blank copies of A4 papers, certified and among them you have pictures certified by them, INEC and they want to say they conducted an election properly so called.
My lord, let me repeat myself.
Justice Tsammani: We have heard you
Livy: My lord, let me say this, it is my submission that a CERTIFIED TRUE COPY of a document MUST BE AN EXACT REPLICA OF THE ORIGINAL.
Must be, there is no choice, you cannot give us blurred CTC.
INEC can only have in its custody blurred blank result and not the original and so they have no basis as to what they used to declare that result, they only went to declare someone a winner and they don’t even have the original copies of results they certify because it could never have been any other thing apart from blurred sheets and pictures.
Fire on SAN
Livy: My lord, the 2nd respondent forfeited $460,000 on NARCOTICS. They don’t want to hear that, NARCOTICS
Livy: My lord they have been quoting section 137 1D they are trying to form a case for us and avoiding the main case, even when you focus on money laundering which was part of the crimes of the 2nd respondent, the NARCOTICS should not be ignored and the constitution is clear on such crimes.
Now on rerun my lord, let us be clear, the only candidate who comes clear for a rerun is the 1st petitioner according to section 131 3D and my lord, in the case of Awolowo and Shagari, of course the provision now was not available then in that case.
And let me quickly refer to what the lawyer of the 2nd respondent said that the petition has been abandoned and I can’t believe this came from a brother I know, petition that you spent time filing replies and you don’t even have replies to file is what you’re saying abandoned.
A petition where you don’t even have any witness.
Livy: My lord, I don’t want to spend time talking about FCT because the constitution is very clear on it, none of them even defined the meaning of AND.
I didn’t hear that from any of them whether disjunctive or otherwise and that would lead to manifest absurdity and they know so that is why they ignored that and did not urge my lord to interprete the AND as being disjunctive.
“The clerk rings the bell”
Livy: My lord, I’m replying 3 people, my time is not up
Livy: My lord, the petitioners have proved their case and to the issue of noncompliance from INEC they have no defence. They said because of toner, that’s why results CTC are blurred
4 months after was when they explained a 4 hours glitch, 4 months after.
Up unto 29th of May, they were still giving us blurred documents of election result, 4 months after elections, how can you reconcile the 2. It’s not possible.
Justice Tsammani: Your time is to
Livy: My lord, one more sentence
the petitioners have proved that there was no glitch whatsoever in this election.
May it please my lordship.
Justice Tsamamani: Okay, we will announce the date for judgement to you all.