The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has given its verdict on the petition filed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the February 23 general election.
Legit.ng highlights the key rulings given by the five-man panel of justices led by Mohammed Garba:
1. Tribunal dismisses INEC’s motion asking VP Osinbajo to be joined in the petition
Tribunal unanimously dismissed INEC’s motion asking Vice President Osinbajo to be joined in the petition, ruling that a vice presidential candidate is not a necessary party in an election petition but an appendage of the presidential candidate who nominated him
2. INEC's motion on Atiku's lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu, dismissed
Tribunal dismisses INEC's motion arguing that Atiku's lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu, is not a legal practitioner called to the Nigerian Bar
3. Tribunal strikes out INEC's request to dismiss Atiku's prayer seeking Buhari's disqualification
Tribunal refuses INEC's request to dismiss Atiku's prayer seeking Buhari's disqualification on the ground that he was not qualified to contest the election
4. Tribunal strikes out Atiku's application on police and military interference, harassment and intimidation
Ruling on the allegations of police and military interference, harassment and intimidation and ballot stuffing among others, filed by Atiku, the tribunal struck out the application for non-joinder of the parties who have been accused
5. Tribunal dismisses Buhari's application that Atiku was not qualified to file petition
Tribunal dismissed President Buhari's application that Atiku was not qualified to file the petition challenging his election, ruling that Atiku is qualified to filed the petition
6. Tribunal dismisses Atiku's application on vote-buying
Tribunal dismissed Atiku's application accusing Vice President Yemi Osinbajo of inducing voters with the TraderMoni scheme, ruling that it does not have jurisdiction over the matter. The tribunal also noted that Osinbajo was not a party in the suit and, therefore, dismissed the application in favour of President Buhari.
7. Tribunal strikes out APC's argument that Atiku is not qualified to contest because he is not a Nigerian by birth
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Tribunal struck out APC's argument that Atiku was not qualified to contest the last presidential election because he is allegedly not a Nigerian by birth.
It ruled that its power does not include determining the qualification of a petitioner in an election dispute, adding that its powers was to determine whether a person elected to the office of the president was validly elected and not to query the qualification of the petitioners to have contested the election, whose outcome was being queried.
The court said the APC ought to have filed a cross-petition if it sought to challenge Atiku's qualification to have contested the election.
8. Tribunal strikes out Atiku's application on Buhari's educational qualifications
The tribunal has ruled that Buhari was educationally qualified to contest for president. The court in its ruling also said that one's ability to read, write, and communicate in English is seen in law as being equivalent to School Certificate level.
9. Tribunal rules there is no evidence that INEC transmitted election results electronically to any server
The tribunal has declared that there is no evidence that INEC transmitted the results of the last presidential election electronically to any server.
It held that the petitioners failed to prove the existence of an INEC server or that the electoral commission transmitted results electronically, adding there is no law in place in Nigeria that allows electronic transmission of results or the transmission of result using card reader.
10. Tribunal dismisses result presented by Atiku, PDP
The tribunal further dismissed the results which the PDP and Atiku claimed were obtained from INEC's website.
"It is my view that whatever results you claim to have gotten belong to a whistle-blower. It is possible to use scientific method to alter data on a website. Therefore, the petitioner relied on information from a third party (and) the evidence is unreliable because it is hearsay and inadmissible," Garba said.
11. Tribunal dismisses alleged malpractices in presidential election
The lead judge listed some of the allegations the PDP and Atiku raised in their petition. The allegations include: compromised printing of election materials, manipulation of ballot boxes, manipulation of card readers, manipulation of accreditation and collation, manipulation of security agencies and militarisation of election, manipulation of election materials' delivery, arbitrary arrest of petitioners' supporters and massive thumb-printing of ballot papers, etc.
He ruled that the evidence presented petitioners is not "sufficient to prove the monumental allegation of electoral malpractices pleaded".
According to Garba,"The petitioners have a duty to prove all the allegations which are criminal in nature beyond reasonable doubt". He says there is nothing to show there were malpractices in the presidential election.
"The evidence put forward by the witnesses called by the petitioners is not sufficient to prove the monumental allegation of electoral malpractices pleaded."
12. Tribunal dismisses Atiku's petition against Buhari's victory 'in its entirety'
The court has dismissed Atiku's petition and affirmed President Buhari's electoral victory.
“I have come to the conclusion that the petitioners have not proved any of the grounds in paragraph 15 as required. For failure of this, this petition is hereby dismissed in its entirety,” the lead judge said.
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Recall that the APC had said it was confident that the tribunal's ruling would be in its favour. The national publicity secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, expressed the confidence on Tuesday, September 10.
Issa-Onilu also claimed that the PDP did not put up a formidable legal resistance.
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