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No, Nigeria’s election petition tribunal judge has not resigned over pressure to rule against opposition leader Peter Obi

IN SHORT: A report has circulated on social media, claiming one of the five judges in Nigeria’s presidential election petition court resigned due to pressure to subvert justice. Judicial officials have debunked the claim.

A report circulating on Facebook and other social media platforms in Nigeria claims that a member of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), Boloukuoromo Ugo, has resigned over pressure put on the court to rule against the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, in the 2023 election.

Obi and his party are challenging the victory of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the PEPC. The court is made up of five judges

The report begins with the headline: “BREAKING: Justice Ugo Resigns, over pressure to rule against Obi.”

The report claims that Ugo released a statement saying “that siding with the government on this matter would be the 'death of Nigeria's democracy', and that he could not in good conscience remain silent. His resignation has sent shockwaves through the country, and raised serious questions about the state of Nigeria's democratic institutions”.

Similar claims posted on Facebook can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here

Has Ugo resigned from the election tribunal because of attempts to compel the judges to rule in favour of Tinubu? 

If that were the case, it would show the executive’s undue interference in the judiciary, a major development in Nigeria’s democracy. We investigated.

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Report debunked by multiple judicial officials

The report has been debunked by top officials in Nigeria’s judiciary. 

The chief registrar of the appeals court, Umar Bangari, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the claim was false and misleading and urged the public to ignore “the fake news in its entirety”. The court of appeal serves as the secretariat for election petition courts and tribunals in the country. 

An official of the PEPC Kabir Akanbi told the Premium Times that it was not true that Ugo had resigned from the tribunal. “It is not true that my Lord, Honourable Justice Ugo resigned from the Presidential Election Petition Court,” Akanbi was quoted as saying.

The claim that Ugo resigned was not reported by any credible media organisation and it is not supported by any evidence.

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