- Dismisses Atiku, Obi APM petitions
- As Atiku heads to Supreme Court
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) has dismissed the three consolidated petitions brought before it, against the election of President Bola Tinubu by the Presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Atiku Abubakar, the Labour Party(LP) Peter Obi and the Allied Peoples(APM) for lacking in merit.
Accordingly, Justice Haruna Tsammani, in the lead judgment, affirmed that the declaration and return of Bola Tinubu by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) as the winner of the election having scored the highest lawful votes was in order.
The tribunal held that none of the three sets of petitioners was able to prove their allegations as contained in the petitions.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Haruna Tsammani in his lead judgment held that the petitions by the three political parties lack merit and subsequently dismissed them.
In dismissing the petition by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), the tribunal struck out some paragraphs bordering on Bola Tinubu’s alleged non qualification by virtue of his alleged dual citizenship and conviction on drug and fraud allegations in a United States District Court.
Meanwhile, lead counsel to Atiku, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) has vowed to proceed with an appeal to the Supreme Court.
The court further rejected several exhibits including witnesses statements tendered by the petitioners to establish his allegations of irregularities, malpractices against the February 25 presidential election.
Besides, the court held Atiku failed to prove that the alleged irregularities and non compliance to the extant electoral laws by INEC substantially affected the outcome of the election.
It further held that Atiku and his party failed to call relevant witnesses to prove the allegations contained in the petition.
Justice Moses Ugoh in his ruling on the objections raised by the respondents held that several parts of Atiku’s petition have no legs upon which they can stand and survive, hence, not competent.
The court said several facts fundamentally required to support the petition were not provided by Atiku.
Among others, Atiku was said to have failed and neglected to name places where ballot boxes were snatched, the ways and manners the BVAS machine were manipulated and names of polling boots where alleged malpractices took place.
The petitioner who claimed to have polled majority of lawful votes was said to have failed to state in clear terms, the total lawful votes he claimed to have scored.
The Court held that Atiku alleged that Tinubu did not score majority of lawful votes but refused to make the perceived lawful votes known in his petition to the Tribunal.
Similarly, the Tribunal said that the former Vice President made grievous allegations against Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello and Chairman of Olamaboro Local Government of Kogi, Friday Adejoh but neglected to join them as respondents in the petition.
Justice Ugoh held that failure to join the governor who was accused of electoral fraud was fatal to the petition because the governor was denied opportunity to defend himself as required by law.
The Tribunal dismissed the the allegations of over voting all over Nigeria by the petitioner adding that such pleadings run foul of the law because the specific places where the alleged over voting took place were not mentioned.
Atiku’s petition was also faulted on the ground that it introduced several facts and allegations in unlawful ways that caught the respondents unaware adding that the tactic employed was unfair and and made him clever by half.
Among the offending new facts said to have been wrongfully introduced by Atiku were the allegations of criminal conviction, certificate forgery, dual citizenship of Guinea made against Tinubu outside the mode of filing petition.
Justice Stephen Jonah Adah who read another ruling on objections against the petition expunged several documents tendered by Atiku on the ground that the exhibits were made during the pendency of the petition.
Also the evidence of several key witnesses of Atiku were expunged from the Court record having been made in manners not known to law.
The Tribunal held that the wrongful mode adopted by the PDP’s presidential candidate in the construction of the petition made several paragraphs of the petition iable for striking out for want of merit.