Claim: Obi beats Tinubu, Shettima at Presidential election tribunals.
Verdict: MISLEADING. Our findings show that two objections against Peter Obi that were faulted were what the report referred to as victory over the incumbent president and his vice.
Amidst the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) sitting in Abuja today (Wednesday, September 6, 2023) to deliver the much-anticipated judgement, a news headline by P.M News on X (formerly Twitter) alleged that the candidate of the Labour party (LP), Peter Obi, defeated the president Bola Tinubu and his vice Kashim Shettima at the PEPC.
“Breaking: Peter Obi beats Tinubu, Shettima at PEPC,” the headline reads.
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X users in the comment section criticised the headline. Presh (@IamPresh90) wrote, “ You’re looking for traffic with this headline,” while YettyO (JP) (@YettyO_jp) laughed it off, noting it is a hoke.
The sensitive nature of election tribunal issues and the various comments doubting the authenticity of the headline prompted us to verify.
We clicked on the link and read the full story, which only referred to two objections raised about Mr Obi that were faulted by the panel.
The first objection was on Mr Obi’s membership of the Labour Party, and the second on whether his petition was valid, seeing he did not join the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar.
How objections faulted can be referred to as a victory is mischievous.
The live broadcast of the court proceedings, which is being reported live by Premium Times, The Cable, and Channels Television, revealed that the court faulted the respondents’ objection that the Labour Party’s petition cannot stand because it failed to join Atiku Abubakar who came second in the election and Mr Obi is not a member of the Labour Party.
On the objection to joining Mr Abubakar, one of the five-member panel of Justices, Abba Mohammed, said a petitioner is not obligated to join a candidate who lost the election like himself in his petition.
Mr Mohammed added that a petitioner is only obligated to join the person and the political party who won the election and the commission who conducted the election as parties to his petition.
On the second objection questioning Mr Obi’s membership, Mr Mohammed said only a political party can determine who its members are and that no other person or entity can probe into it.
Available reports from credible media platforms providing live updates on the court sitting show the headline is misleading. Two faulted petitions against Mr Obi were what P.M News referred to as a victory over President Tinubu and his vice.