Nigeria: Buhari Asks Tribunal to Dismiss PDP, Atiku's Petition

(file photo).
19 August 2019

President Muhammadu Buhari has described the petition by the PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal as a "patent sham."

In a final written address by the lead counsel to Buhari, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the president asked the tribunal to expunge the 28,000 exhibits tendered by Atiku and the PDP, including the testimonies of its witnesses such as Segun Sowunmi, David Njorga from Kenya, and Joseph Gbenga.

Buhari also wanted the tribunal to remove the result sheets tendered in respect of Yobe, 1,732; Kebbi 2,106; Borno 3,472; Kano 5,806; Bauchi 3,599; Katsina 3,378; Jigawa 3,162; Kaduna 3,335A; Zamfara eight, and Niger 1,797. He insisted that they "have failed in their attempt to stridently but erroneously prove their petitions."

President Buhari of the APC was adjudged winner of the February 23 presidential elections by over 15 million votes as against Atiku's 11,262,978 votes.

On the issue of electronic server, the address noted that the argument from Atiku's camp that the results of the presidential election were transmitted electronically from all polling units across the country was a "patent sham," describing the entire case of PDP presidential candidate at best as "infantile," adding that the petitioners failed to establish the existence of the server.

Similarly, the lawyers noted that the petition by Atiku and the PDP "failed woefully to adduce credible and reliable evidence to establish the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari forged his certificate as alleged in their petition."

The president further submitted that "while it is appropriate to debunk such baseless, mendacious and spurious assertion, it suffices to bring to fore the unequivocal provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), which states therequirement for a candidate to contest the presidential election and occupy the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Section 131(d) provides that; A person shall be qualified for election to the office of the President if - He has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.

"More so, the consequence of submitting a forged document to INEC is grave. It therefore requires precise evidence and proof beyond reasonable doubt, which the Petitioners have not been able to establish," it added.

Drawing reference from the Constitution, the address stated that Section 318 of the Constitution, defines a Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent' to mean: A secondary School Certificate or its equivalent, or Grade II Teacher's certificate, the City and Guilds Certificate; or Education up to Secondary School Certificate Level; or Primary Six School

Leaving Certificate or its equivalent and (a). Service in the public

or private sector in the Federation in any capacity acceptable to the

Independent National Electoral Commission for a Minimum of ten years."

Tribunal to resume sitting Wed

The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal will resume sitting on Wednesday, August 21 in the petition by PDP and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar challenging the result of the election.

The five-member panel of justices will hear the written addresses by PDP and Atiku on one hand, and President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC on the other.

The panel presided by Justice Mohammed Garba had on August 1 adjourned the petition for final written addresses after Buhari and the APC closed their case in the petition.

Also, the Supreme Court will tomorrow hear the appeal by PDP and Atiku challenging the refusal of the tribunal to hear their objection to the proceedings of June 11 wherein the APC's requested to strike out some paragraphs of the petition of PDP and Atiku

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