On March 1, 2023, Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All-Progressives Congress (APC) was declared the winner of the 2023 presidential elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
How are Nigerians taking this?
As fans of the president-elect are jubilating, many Nigerians on the side of Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi are not taking the defeat too well. Neither are the PDP supporters of Atiku Abubakar.
Some have even said there is enough evidence for the Labour Party to take to court, given suspicions of massive rigging.
Even before the declaration, the Labour Party, together with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), had already threatened INEC with legal steps.
And this is perfectly normal. Here in Nigeria, there is no such thing as an election without litigation.
As we await the post-election court drama that is sure to follow, take a look at some of the five biggest election cases in Nigeria’s history:
Rotimi Amaechi Vs INEC
In October 2007, the Supreme Court of Nigeria removed Celestine Omehia as governor of Rivers State and ordered that Rotimi Amaechi be sworn in instead.
This was due to Rotimi’s unjust removal from the ballot paper by INEC after he had won the PDP primaries in December 2006.
According to INEC, he was removed due to an indictment or accusation of corruption by the federal government. The Supreme Court later deemed it as invalid.
Amaechi became governor without campaigning.
The many court cases of Peter Obi
Even the Labour Party’s presidential candidate has had his share of ‘work experience’ regarding post-election court cases.
In 2003, Obi ran for the position of Anambra State governor under the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) but lost to Chris Ngige.
Obi didn’t take his L peacefully as he defended his right to Anambra’s highest seat in the election petition tribunal.
He later won the case in March 2006 after almost three years.
He was impeached in November of the same year, but the court overturned his impeachment, and he returned to office in February 2007.
Obi was again removed after the 2007 Anambra State gubernatorial election, but the judiciary intervened by ruling that he should be allowed to complete a full four-year term.
In 2010, Obi was re-elected to a second term.
Mimiko Vs Agagu
The 2023 elections would not be the first to have accusations of electoral fraud. This happened in the April 2007 Ondo State elections between Olusegun Agagu and Olusegun Mimiko.
In April 2007, Agagu was declared the winner of the Ondo State elections by INEC. Mimiko then submitted a petition to the Ondo State State tribunal in what would be a year-long case.
Mimiko later won in August 2008 after it was revealed that Agagu won the election through invalid votes.
Adams Oshiomhole vs Oseirheimen Osunbor
The Ondo State governorship elections weren’t the only election being contested in April 2007. The Edo State governorship election also entered the state’s election tribunal.
This was between Adams Oshiomhole (defendant) and Oserheimen Osunbor (winner).
The case was filed on May 14, 2007, and was won by Oshiomhole in March 2008. The election won by Osunbor was annulled, as the votes in his favour were found to be fraudulent and ill-obtained.
Buhari Vs Obasanjo
Unlike the other four, this court case did not end in victory for the defendant.
When Muhammadu Buhari challenged the victory of Olusegun Obasanjo as the winner of the 2003 presidential elections, the petition sadly got dismissed by the Supreme Court.
Buhari complained of massive rigging, election irregularities and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) mismanagement of votes.
What happens next?
As we await further post-election news, what would be the outcome?
Will the Labour Party take a step back and admit defeat? Will they go to the Supreme Court and challenge Tinubu’s incoming presidency?
Citizen promises to give you the updates once we have them.