FactCheck: Did PEPC Order APM, PDP and LP To Pay For Filing ‘Frivolous’ Petitions?

Oluwaseye Ogunsanya 

Claim 

A user Ayekooto @DeeOneAyekooto made a post on X (formerly Twitter) claiming that the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) awarded cost in millions of Naira to the petitioners (APM, PDP and LP) for filing frivolous election. 

Verdict

False. 

Full Text 

A user Ayekooto @DeeOneAyekooto made a post on X (formerly Twitter) claiming that the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) awarded cost in millions of Naira to the petitioners (APM, PDP and LP) for filing frivolous election.  

According to him, the court ordered the 3 petitioners (APM, LP and PDP) to pay the following sums of money N13,675,890.00, N47,910,431.87 and N23,391,001.45 respectively “within 48 hours after the judgment into the consolidated account of the Court of Appeal lodged at the CBN.”

After 13 hours of delivering judgment, the Presidential Election Petition Court affirmed the victory of President Bola Tinubu in the February 25 presidential election.

In an unanimous decision, the five-member panel led by Haruna Tsammani, dismissed the petitions filed by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and Allied Peoples Movement (APM), challenging Tinubu’s victory and further held that all petitions were “devoid of merit”.

 

The claim has been reposted 248 times, quoted 27 times and liked 619 times as at the time of filing this report.  

Verification 

In a bid to verify the claim, FactCheckElections did a search but we couldn’t find any report from a credible media platform confirming it. 

Since the court proceeding was televised live, we obtained the video recording to check whether the claim was made by the court. In the video, Justice Haruna Tsammani while delivering the lead judgment said in his final orders that: “Having considered and decided that the three petitions, numbers CA/PEPC/03/2023; CA/PEPC/04/2023 and CA/PEPC/05/2023 are all devoid of merit, the petitions are hereby dismissed. Accordingly, I affirm the declaration and return of Bola Ahmed Tinubu by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the duly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” “The parties in the three petitions are to bear their respective costs.” He concluded.

We further went on to check the text of the court judgment here. In page 751-752, Justice Haruna Tsammani while affirming the election of President Bola Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election in the lead judgment also said that: “Having considered and decided that the three petitions, numbers CA/PEPC/03/2023; CA/PEPC/04/2023 and CA/PEPC/05/2023 are all devoid of merit, the petitions are hereby dismissed. Accordingly, I affirm the declaration and return of Bola Ahmed Tinubu by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the duly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” “The parties in the three petitions are to bear their respective costs.” He concluded. 

What Does the Statement ‘Parties To Bear Their Respective Costs’ Mean?

The statement simply means that each party involved in a matter is responsible for covering their own expenses and costs associated with the matter. Furthermore, it also means that neither party will reimburse the other for their expenses, and they are expected to pay their own legal fees, administrative costs, or any other incurred expenses.

To put it in a proper context, a legal practitioner, Mr Musa A. Adeiza, said in a chat with FactCheckElections that: “the statement simply connotes that parties are to bear the cost of the proceedings without a particular order of court awarding costs of proceedings to any of the parties at the expense of the other.”

He further added that: “filing of petition involves paying the administrative cost, the cost of filing the petitions itself including any documents, exhibits or related information the petitioner intends to furnish the court with before the hearing of the proceeding itself.”

According to him, these fees are usually assessed by the Court administrative staff and paid into the revenue of the Federal Government. 

Conclusion 

The court only ordered APM, PDP and LP to bear their respective costs and didn’t specifically mention the amounts quoted in the post. Therefore the claim is false.

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