On the morning of Monday, August 28, 2023, Nigerians awoke to the news that the much-anticipated Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) judgement had been scheduled for September 16, 2023.
Going by discussions on social media, the date is anticipated to be when the election tribunal court will announce its verdict regarding the election petitions filed by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP), and the Allied People’s Movement (APM). These petitions contest the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election of February 23, 2023. The respondents in this case are Nigeria’s president, Bola Tinubu, his deputy, vice president, Kashim Shettima, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The presidential election petition tribunal panel was inaugurated in November 2022, and it started the pre-hearing of petitions on May 8, 2023. Atiku filed his petition on March 21, 2023, which will be exactly 180 days on September 16, 2023. According to Section 132 subsections (7 and 8) of the Electoral Act, the tribunal must deliver judgement within 180 days of the filing of the petition. Peter Obi filed his 21 days later. Because the hearing was consolidated on May 23, 2023, the Tribunal was able to hear the petitions concurrently. There have thus been projections and speculations that the judgement for the petitions will be delivered on the same day.
It is however, pertinent to stress that no reputable traditional news medium has reported on or verified the claim that September 16, 2023 has been set for the Tribunal’s judgement.
To probe further and verify the authenticity of the claim, CDD War Room contacted a Senior Advocate representing one of the parties involved in the petition, who stated that the legal team had not yet been served with a hearing notice.
The standard procedure is that the parties—petitioners and respondents—are served a hearing notice by the court before the date of the hearing, or in this case, judgement. The journalists who cover the tribunal also stated that no date has been set yet.
Verdict: No Evidence.
As at the time of producing this fact check, the claim that judgement for the presidential election petition is set to be delivered on September 16 cannot be authenticated by CDD War Room. September 16 is, however, the last day of the stipulated 180 days contained in the Electoral Act.