Presidential election tribunal delivers judgment today

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, will deliver judgment today in 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.

The tribunal on August 21 reserved judgment on the appeal after parties made their final submissions.

The PDP and its candidate asked the five-man tribunal, led by Justice Mohammed Garba, to nullify President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the February 23 poll and either declare them the winner or order the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a rerun.

They insist that the election was marred by irregularities and are, therefore, asking the tribunal to declare Atiku as the duly elected president.

In the final address presented by his lead counsel, Dr Levy Uzuokwu, the PDP candidate drew the attention of the tribunal to a portion of the President’s INEC form where he claimed to have three different certificates; comprising primary school leaving certificate, WAEC certificate and an officers’ cadet certificate.

Atiku, therefore, asked the tribunal to nullify his election on the grounds that “he lied on oath to deceive Nigerians and to secure unlawful qualification for the election”.

He also faulted the claim of INEC that it had no central server.

The electoral body on the other hand, which was represented by Yunus Usman (SAN), urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost.

According to Usman, INEC conducted the election in total compliance with the Nigerian constitution and electoral act 2010.

Meanwhile, in his defence, President Buhari through his counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), argued that Atiku’s petition was liable to be dismissed because it is lacking in evidence, merit and substance and that the petition is ill-advised and signified nothing.

The APC represented by Mr Lateef Fagbemi, in his own submission said the petition lacked quality evidence that could warrant the nullification of the election as pleaded by the petitioners and therefore, urged the tribunal to throw out the petition.

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Diran Odeyemi, on Tuesday said the party members were of high hopes that the tribunal would declare Atiku as the winner of the election.

Odeyemi said, “We expect the judiciary as the last hope of the common man to dispense justice more so as Atiku has proved his case beyond any reasonable doubt and declare  him the winner of the election.”

When contacted, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said the party was expecting victory because the PDP’s petition lacked substance.

He said, “We are expecting nothing short of victory. The PDP only helped us to prove our case beyond reasonable doubt. Their petition turned out to be a noise and lacks substance.

“We presented certificate from Cambridge and WAEC which they could not fault. They couldn’t bring anything from Cambridge and WAEC to say what we presented was fake.

“The results they submitted upon which they wanted the court to award them victory were contradictory. They simply don’t have a case.”

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