Today, after a five-month-long legal battle, the Presidential Election Petition Court (Tribunal) is poised to announce its verdict, which will determine the fate of President Bola Tinubu, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi in the aftermath of the February 25, 2023 presidential race.
Tinubu represented the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku ran for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Obi contested under the Labour Party (LP). The outcome could either validate Tinubu’s election or lead to various scenarios, including declaring Atiku as the winner or calling for a rerun election.
Additionally, the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) filed a separate petition, asserting that the withdrawal of Masari as the initial APC Vice-Presidential candidate invalidated Tinubu’s candidacy under constitutional provisions.
In response to these petitions, Tinubu, APC, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have urged the court to dismiss the challenges and uphold Tinubu’s election.
Here are the five judges who will make this crucial decision:
Justice Stephen Adah: Born on June 13, 1957, Justice Adah, from Kogi State, presides over the Asaba Division of the Court of Appeal. He has a strong legal background, having been appointed a Federal High Court judge in 1998 before his elevation to the Court of Appeal in 2012. Notably, he was part of a three-man panel that allowed Obi and Atiku to serve Tinubu their petitions through substituted means.
Justice Haruna Tsammani: Born on November 23, 1959, Justice Tsammani has a distinguished career in the judiciary, serving as a High Court judge in Bauchi State in 1998 before his elevation to the Court of Appeal in 2010. He is the longest-serving justice on the panel and has notable judgments in his portfolio, including decisions related to Governor Yahaya Bello’s second term election and Value Added Tax (VAT) collection.
Justice Monsurat Bolaji-Yusuf: The only female member of the panel, Justice Bolaji-Yusuf was born on August 7, 1959, in Oyo State. She previously served as a High Court judge in Oyo State before her elevation to the Court of Appeal in 2014. Her notable decisions include invalidating actions related to the impeachment of former Governor Rashidi Ladoja in Oyo State and affirming Ifeanyi Ubah as a Senator.
Justice Moses Ugo: Born in 1966, Justice Ugo is the youngest member of the panel and hails from Bayelsa State. He served as a High Court judge in Bayelsa State before being promoted to the Court of Appeal in 2011.
Justice Abba Mohammed: Born on February 19, 1961, Justice Abba Mohammed is from Kano State. He was appointed a judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in 2010 and was promoted to the Court of Appeal in 2021. His notable cases include chairing the Nasarawa State Governorship Election Tribunal in 2019.
The nation awaits the verdict of these five judges, which will have far-reaching implications for Nigeria’s political landscape.