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Tribunal upholds Buhari election victory as Atiku heads to Supreme Court

Tribunal upholds Buhari election victory as Atiku heads to Supreme Court

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) sitting in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the February 23, 2019 poll.

The tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba unanimously dismissed the suit for lack of merit after it resolved all the five issues raised in the case against the petitioners.

Chairman of the Tribunal who read the lead judgment held that none of the grounds upon which the petition was anchored was proved.

 The tribunal maintained that the petitioners merely dumped documents particularly electoral materials, including result sheets, used for the election on the tribunal without any effort to demonstrating them by tying the evidence of any of their 62 witnesses to the documents in their bid to prove the allegations in their petition.

It held that none of the documents tendered by the petitioners was utilised to prove the allegations, such as over-voting.

 According to the tribunal, contrary to the claim by the petitioners, Buhari was eminently qualified educationally to contest the election.

 It Further said that Buhari did not give false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission to aid his educational qualification to contest the poll as alleged by the petitioner.

Justice Garba also held that the petitioners could not prove that the election results were transmitted electronically by card reader.

 “In the final result, I have come to the conclusion, which is inevitable and unavoidable, that the petitioners have not discharged the burden of proof required of any of the grounds of the petition in paragraph 15 of the petition.

“This petition is, accordingly, and hereby dismissed in its entirety,” Garba held.

Other members of the panel include Justices Abdul Aboki, Joseph Ikyegh, Samuel Oseji, and Peter Ige.

The judgment which started around  9:30 a.m. on Wednesday ended at 5:58 p.m. when the other members of the panel delivered their supporting opinions.

Meanwhile, Alhaji Abubakar and the PDP have rejected the judgment of the tribunal and announced their intention to take the petition to the Supreme Court.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, made this known in a statement in which he said the judgement was provocative, barefaced subversion of justice and a direct assault on the integrity of the nation’s justice system

According to him, the PDP was particularly shocked that the tribunal allegedly failed to point to justice despite, what he described as, the flawless evidence laid before it, showing that  Buhari was not only unqualified to contest the election but also did not score the majority of valid votes at the polls.

“PDP finds it as bewildering that a court of law could validate a clear case of perjury and declaration of false information in a sworn 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 clearly abandoned their pleadings by refusing to call evidence in defense 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,” the spokesman stated.

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