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How long does it take to resolve a presidential election petition?

The presidential election petition tribunal has four active cases against the result of the 2023 election.

The presidential election petition tribunal will hear arguments from the PDP's Atiku Abubakar (left), LP's Peter Obi (right) and two other political parties in four separate petitions against the result of the 2023 presidential election [Daria Media]

A pre-hearing session was held in Abuja where the Action Alliance (AA) withdrew its petition calling for the cancellation of the controversial February 25 election won by Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

There are still four separate petitions against the result of the election filed by the Action People’s Party (APP), Allied People’s Movement (APM), Labour Party (LP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

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Here’s a timeline of how long it’ll take the courts to reach a final verdict on a petition, according to Section 132 of the Electoral Act 2022.

The petitioner has to file a petition within 21 days of when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the result of the election. Any petition submitted to the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal outside this window is null and void.

The law mandates the tribunal, which is the Court of Appeal, to deliver a verdict on the petition within 180 days of when it was filed.

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If the loser of the tribunal judgement is unhappy with the ruling, they can file an appeal before the Supreme Court within 14 days. Any appeal submitted outside this window is null and void.

The Supreme Court has a maximum of 60 days to deliver a ruling after the appeal is filed. The court’s ruling is final.

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The timespan allowed by law usually means that a final ruling on a presidential election petition isn’t delivered until around October or November of the election year. The president-elect is sworn in on May 29 pending the judgement.

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