There is tight security at the Court of Appeal complex located in the Three Arms Zone, Shehu Shagari Way, Central Business District of Abuja, as the presidential election petition tribunal prepares to deliver judgment on the legitimate winner of the February 25 poll.
The judgment is three cases challenging the outcome of the last presidential election. This is coming about a month after the court heard the closing arguments of parties to the petitions and about two weeks to the expiration of the statutory 180-day lifespans within which the cases filed in March must be heard and determined.
It is a three-horse litigation involving incumbent President Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party candidate) and Peter Obi (Labour Party candidate).
The Independent National Electoral Commission on March 1 declared Mr Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the poll, with 8.8 million votes to defeat 17 other candidates.
Mr Atiku polled 6,984,520 votes, and Mr Obi had 6,101,533 votes, according to INEC.
Petitions were filed separately by Messrs Abubakar and Obi and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) to challenge Mr Tinubu’s victory.
Haruna Tsammani, who heads the five-member panel of the court, had reserved judgments on the petitions after hearing the closing arguments of the parties to the cases in early August.
Many security operatives, including the armed forces, police, State Security Service and NSCDC operatives, all roads leading to the court’s complex. Security operatives are also on the court’s premises.
In a statement on Monday, the court’s chief registrar, Umar Bangari, said everything was in place to ensure that the judgment in the three petitions before the court is delivered hitch-free.
Mr Bangari said adequate security was on the ground and that only the invited members of political parties and the public would be allowed into the courtroom. This, he said, was to avoid congestion and security breaches.
He also said media outlets that wish to live-stream the judgment would be allowed to do so.
As early as 7:30 a.m., lawyers and journalists were checked by security operatives.
Major government buildings, including the federal secretariat, the National Assembly complex and the access to the Presidential Villa, were manned by security operatives.