The All Progressive Congress (APC) is asking the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to dismiss the petition filed by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) Peter Obi.
The APC challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the petition on the grounds that it is incompetent.
Among APC’s grounds for challenging the competence of the petition are claims that Obi was not a valid member of the Labour Party as at the time of the election.
On Obi’s claim to being a member of the Labour Party, the APC argued that he was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) until May 24, 2022, when he was screened as the PDP’s presidential aspirant in April 2023.
The APC stated that Obi participated in PDP’s screening exercise and was cleared to contest the presidential election as an aspirant.
It added Obi purportedly resigned his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on 24th May 2022 to purportedly join the Labour Party on 27th, May 2022.
Labour Party and Peter Obi are challenging the victory of President-elect Bola Tinubu of APC, winner of the February 25 election, on grounds of alleged non-qualification and non-compliance, among others.
The Labour Party conducted its presidential primary on 30th May 2022, which purportedly produced Obi as its candidate, which time contravened Section 77(3) of the Electoral Act for him to contest the primary election as a member of the LP, according to the APC suit.
The APC submitted that by the mandatory provisions of Section 77 (1) (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act 2022, a political party shall maintain a register and shall make such register available to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not later than 30 days before the date fixed for the party primaries, congresses and convention.
The APC also submitted that Peter Obi resigned from his membership of the PDP on Thursday 26th May 2022 and joined the Labour Party the following day 27th May 2022.
“The 2nd petitioner herein conducted its presidential primary on 30th May 2022, which produced the 1st petitioner as the candidate it intended to sponsor in the general election,” the APC said.
The party further submitted that by Section 77(3) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the Labour Party is mandated to have submitted its comprehensive register of members to INEC, 30 days before its presidential primary, that is to say, the said register of members must have been submitted to the 1st respondent on or before 30th April 2022
As of 30th April 2022, Peter Obi was still a member of the PDP and his name was not and could not have been in the register of members submitted by the Labour Party to INEC, the suit concludes.