(News investigators) Wole Olanipekun, counsel to President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima, has responded to the final written address filed by the counsels of Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP).
Obi, the standard bearer of the LP, is challenging the victory of Tinubu in the February 25 presidential poll.
Olanipekun, in a response filed on Friday before the presidential election petition tribunal, asked the court to dismiss Obi and LP’s petition and their final written address.
The petitioners had said Tinubu was not eligible to run for the office of president due to the forfeiture of $460,000 in the US and his failure to secure 25 percent of votes cast in the federal capital territory (FCT).
TINUBU’S LAWYERS RESPOND TO OBI’S FINAL WRITTEN ADDRESS
In a 14-page response, Tinubu’s lawyers argued that Obi and LP “abandoned” their petition in their final written address.
They asked the court to dismiss their arguments over the “clear manifestation and display of abandonment of the entire petition”.
“Order 22 Rule 5 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019, which is applicable to the proceedings mandates that “a written address shall…contain…(c) the issues arising from the evidence for determination,”Tinubu lawyers said.
“From this simple grammatical provision of the rules, it is clear that the petitioners have not formulated any issue for determination capable of being considered or countenanced by this honourable court; and the court can also not consider their address without 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.”
‘FORFEITURE NOT CONVICTION-BASED’
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.”