Nigeria: Presidential Tribunal Ruling Shocking, Subversion of Justice - PDP

Photo: Vanguard
Abubakar Atiku, 2019 presidential candidate for PDP and President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC
11 September 2019

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it rejects the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal affirming President Muhammadu Buhari's electoral victory, describing it as "provocative, barefaced subversion of justice and direct assault on the integrity of our nation's justice system".

The party said "it is particularly shocked that the tribunal failed to point to justice despite the flawless evidence laid before it, showing that President Buhari was not only unqualified to contest the election but also did not score the majority of valid votes at the polls".

The tribunal on Wednesday dismissed the petition filed by the PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

The judgment by the five-member tribunal was read by Garba Mohammed.

The tribunal ruled each of the five arguments by the PDP and Mr Abubakar against them.

Mr Mohammed said the petitioners failed to prove their petition beyond reasonable doubt and the petition was dismissed in its entirety.

'Unacceptable'

In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said it finds "as bewildering that a court of law could validate a clear case of perjury and declaration of false information in an affidavit, as firmly established against President Muhammadu Buhari, even in the face of incontrovertible evidence".

"The party is also rudely shocked that the court took over the roles of the respondents' lawyers who abandoned their pleadings by refusing to call evidence in defence of the petition. The court raked up all manner of excuses to make up for the yawning gaps occasioned by the total absence of any evidence from the respondents.

"Nigerians and the international community watched in utter disbelief when the tribunal ruled that one need not provide a copy or certified a true copy of educational certificate such individual claimed to possess, contrary to established proof of claims of certification.

"The party notes as strange that the court even went ahead to provide rationalisations in favour of President Buhari, even when all hard facts before it shows that he did not possess the claimed educational certificate and that the Army was not in possession of his WAEC certificate as claimed in the affidavit he deposed to in his Presidential nomination form."

'Shocking'

The PDP also described as shocking that the court approved the "flawed declaration of President Buhari as the winner of the election despite evidence to show the perpetration of illegalities, manipulations, alterations, and subtraction of valid votes freely given to Atiku Abubakar by Nigerians".

"Indeed, the pervading melancholic atmosphere across our nation since the verdict is a direct indication that the judgment has not fulfilled the desires and expectations of Nigerians."

The party, however, encouraged Nigerians to remain calm and not to lose hope or surrender to despondency or self-help, "as its lawyers are upbeat in obtaining justice at the Supreme Court".

"This is more so as the tribunal itself admitted that there are several errors in the judgment."

Lifeline

As it stands, the only lifeline left for the PDP is to head to the Supreme Court.

President Buhari also had on three occasions approached the Supreme Court when he contested the presidential election in 2003, 2007 and 2011. On all occasions, the president lost at the Supreme Court.

Mr Buhari was, however, elected president in 2015, defeating incumbent Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP.

The president was reelected in the February election for another four year term.

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