Nigeria: Tribunal - 5 Constitutional Grounds to Decide Buhari, Atiku's Fate Today

Atiku and Buhari.
11 September 2019

The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal will, today, decide the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging the election of February 23.

Already, the judges have entered the courtroom at exactly 9. 28am to deliver the judgement.

The judgement, which is expected to last for five hours beginning from 9.30am, was announced on Tuesday by the Director of Information in the Court of Appeal, Sa'adatu Musa.

Meanwhile, there are five key constitutional grounds, apart from other grounds raised by both parties, that will shape the decision of the five-member panel of justices led by Justice Mohammed Garba.

These are:

1. Majority of lawful votes: The tribunal will decide who among the two scored the majority of lawful votes in the election. Atiku and PDP had alleged that Buhari and APC suppressed, deflated votes while INEC made wrong entries in result sheets in their strong states to deny them victory.

2. Election marred by Malpractices, Corruption: Atiku and PDP, in their petition, alleged that the election was marred by corruption and malpractices against the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) by the Nigerian Police, Army etc. They also alleged that the Tradermoni initiative by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo amounted to vote buying.

3. Electronic transmission and server results differ with announced result: Atiku and PDP claimed that they scored higher votes above that of Buhari and APC through results transmitted on INEC server and made available by adhoc officials on the field.

4. Qualification to contest election: The tribunal would decide whether Buhari and APC satisfied the provision of Section 131 of the Nigerian Constitution for school certificate as one of the qualifications for the office of the President.

5. Citizenship: The tribunal will look at the claim by Buhari and APC that Atiku did not qualify to contest the election having been born in Jada, Adamawa State in 1946 at a time the state was part of Northern Cameroon and therefore, not a citizen of Nigeria as required by the Constitution.

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