The Labour Party says it has engaged the services of at least 20 senior advocates of Nigeria to challenge the outcome of the February 25 presidential election on behalf of its presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
Sources within the party told the Punch that the lawyers drawn from different chambers are being furnished with materials that would be used as evidence in court.
According to the National Secretary of the Labour Party, Umar Farouk, some SANs expressed their interest in joining the legal battle to prove Obi’s case.
He said INEC had lost its independence through its alleged collusion with the ruling APC by giving victory to Tinubu, stressing that LP’s hope is now in the judiciary to do the needful.
Farouk said, “We have more than 20 SANs that are willing to participate and offer their services for the renewal and emergence of a new Nigeria. As I am talking to you, our lawyers are working on it.
“But this is not something we can discuss on the pages of a newspaper. All I can tell you is that we have started ‘trekking’ to the court.
On whether the leadership of the party and the candidate had been able to garner concrete evidence other than the alleged isolated incidents the APC claimed the Labour Party was dangling to get public sympathy, he said, “The court is not a polling box that they can smash and put in what they want.
“If the APC thinks they can pre-empt the court, let them do it. They had earlier pre-empted the election that they were going to win by hook or crook and they had claimed they won. Let’s wait and see. Unlike INEC, the judiciary is a different thing.
“We have seen how independent the commission is. But we need to also examine how independent the judiciary also is in a matter of this magnitude. Let’s see the solace it can offer the masses. Let’s see if the judiciary has also shattered the hope of Nigerians just as INEC did.”
Farouk, however, couldn’t give a definite date when the case would be filed.
“We are saying Obi is the winner from the record we have before us. But INEC did something else. They hurriedly carried out the plan of their paymaster.
“Therefore we have every reason to claim victory if it is being denied.
“On the part of Atiku and the PDP, they have the right and data to claim that their mandate was stolen. The only arbiter now is the court.
“So many people can claim one thing. It is the judiciary that gives a verdict based on the evidence before it.”
Recall that the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar had said in a Press conference in Abuja that his lawyers were studying the results of the presidential election, which he flayed as flawed, to determine their next course of action.
Reacting however, the chief spokesman of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, boasted that the president-elect and his camp were not intimidated by the legal threat of the opposition.
He also confirmed that the legal directorate of the PCC was putting together more than 12 SANs to defend his principal in the alleged case of rigging and stolen mandate.
Keyamo said, “The number of our advocates is around that figure (12). But I can’t confirm the exact figures at the moment. However, it doesn’t matter the number of SANs the Labour Party is parading. It is not a competition.
“I am a lawyer and can tell you specifically that the numbers don’t matter. It is all about the quality of evidence. But I can tell you that we have enough to nullify more of their votes than theirs to nullify our own.”
The president-elect and candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, was controversial announced the winner of the keenly contested election last Wednesday despite lingering fundemantal questions of law and massive complaints of voter suppression, rigging and violence.
Tinubu polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the LP flag bearer, who got 6,984,520 and 6,101,533 votes respectively.
Both Atiku and Obi rejected the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission.