Member of the dissolved All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council and a Lawyer, Jesutega Onokpasa, said Peter Obi took his case to court, investing time and court resources, presenting numerous unsubstantiated claims, and failing to provide evidence for his petitions.
During an interview with ARISE NEWS on Thursday, Onokpasa expressed that the events that unfolded at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) were a clear demonstration of unprofessional behaviour by some lawyers.
PEPC decided that a presidential contender is not required to achieve a 25% vote share in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. This ruling is based on the interpretation of the law, which specifies that to become President, a candidate must secure a 25% vote share in one-third of the 37 states in Nigeria, including the FCT.
The petitioners had criticised INEC’s announcement of Tinubu as the victor, arguing that he did not obtain a minimum of 25% of the legitimate votes in the FCT.
Following this, Onokpasa stated that no one state has more influence than other states in decision-making, emphasising the principle of equality before the law, hence, the idea of declaring Peter Obi as the election winner solely based on his approximately 48% or 58% support in the FCT is unjust.
“Did he get one-quarter in two-thirds of the states? What a bizarre petition,” he said, “In fact, the petition from the onset was, I feel, a frolic on professionalism.”
“How do you bring such frivolous petitions to a court of law?” he questioned, “The judgement was basically to the effect that Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar did not even attempt to prove their petitions, and it is so shocking.”
He stated that Peter Obi took his case to court, wasting his time and the court’s time, presenting “a whole lot of crap” and didn’t bother to prove his petitions.
He further said that he is privy to some information about people that tried to breach the INEC server saying, “They were Labour Party supporters, Peter Obi supporters and Atiku supporters. Some of them were alleged at the time to be former agents of Cambridge Analytica, so I don’t really know.”
Onokpasa also shared INEC’s (Independent National Electoral Commission) viewpoint that there was a technical issue with the BVAS system. He said it is evident from the fact that despite the absence of real-time result transmission, the organisation managed to gather approximately 6.2 million votes for Peter Obi, roughly 6.9 million votes for Atiku, and just over 8.7 million votes for President Tinubu.
“It is clear how the election was won and lost. It’s not because of non- electronic transmission of results. It is because both of them split their votes,” he added.
He claimed that Peter Obi’s failure to secure victory in the election was due to Atiku Abubakar’s unwillingness to concede to him. Conversely, Atiku’s defeat can be attributed to Peter Obi’s refusal to yield to him.
“How else is the court going to do justice other than to give the election to the person that actually won it because of their mutual default. That’s how Bola Tinubu won,” Onokpasa said.
For future purposes, he said that he would like election petitions to be resolved timeously, but stated, “I think, thankfully, even the law has compressed the time within which petitions are to be dispensed with.”