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APC says Peter Obi was not Labour Party member, asks appeal court to dismiss his petition against Tinubu election

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The ruling All Progressive (APC( has asked the Appeals Court to dismiss a petition by third-placed candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi who is challenging the victory of president-elect Bola Tinubu following a disputed election in February, court documents showed on Tuesday.

Labour Party’s Peter Obi, who came third in the election, and second-placed opposition People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) Atiku Abubakar last month separately challenged the results in court.

The two candidates said the results were fraudulent, citing Tinubu, his ruling APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as respondents.

The APC said in a countersuit on Tuesday that Obi’s petition should be dismissed on several grounds, including that Obi was not a Labour Party member when he contested the elections and that he failed to include Atiku as a respondent, making his petition “incompetent.”

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Obi, who was Atiku’s running mate in 2019, left the PDP in May last year to join the Labour Party. The APC is arguing that Obi was not yet a member when Labour Party submitted its members register to the electoral commission as required by law.

The ruling party is yet to respond to Atiku’s petition.

INEC declared Tinubu the winner with 37 percent of the votes cast, ahead of Atiku’s 29 percent and 25 percent for Obi. No court has overturned presidential election results in Nigeria before.

Tinubu is set to be sworn-in on May 29, when the current President Mohammadu Buhari is expected to step down after eight years in office.

The Appeals Court is still to nominate judges who will constitute a tribunal to hear the presidential election petitions and deliver a verdict within 180 days from the date the court challenges were filed last month.

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