Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal dismis PDP and Atiku

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The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has dismissed the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the 2019 Presidential election challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 Presidential election.

The five-man panel of the tribunal, led by Justice Mohammed Garba gave the unanimous judgement yesterday.

The tribunal dismissed the petition in its entirety and the parties are to bear their respective cost.

Other members of the tribunal including Justice Peter Olabisi-Ige, Justice Abdul Aboki, Justice Joseph Ikyegh and Justice Samuel Oseji, agreed with the lead judgement.

Justice Garba affirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari was the winner of the 2019 presidential election.

The PDP and Atiku had filed a joint petition on March 18, 2019, specifically asking the tribunal to disqualify Buhari, winner of the February 23 presidential election, on the grounds that he (Buhari) did not possess the requisite academic qualification to contest for the office of President, and the election was marred with irregularities.

Other petitions filed by the petitioners include; deployment of electronic voting, over-voting, substantial non-compliance with the electoral law as well as the use of security agencies to rig the election in favour of Buhari.

The tribunal also dismissed Atiku’s claim that he won the election based on results allegedly transmitted into the INEC sever.

 

According to the Tribunal, the Kenyan Information and Communication Technology (ICT) expert, David Njorga invited as the 59th witnesses to establish the claim that INEC transmitted results to a server during the last presidential election was based on ‘hearsay’ from a third party.

The chairman of the tribunal added that the petitioner failed to prove substantial non-compliance of the electoral act in the 11 states complained to have been marred by electoral malpractices.

The tribunal also ruled that most of the witnesses called by the petitioner gave hearsay evidence which is not applicable in proving all the specific allegations and all the criminal allegations contained in the petition.

Justice Mohammed Garba started the pre-trial on June 10, 2019, after President of the Appeal Court, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa withdrew from the matter, following calls of partisanship.

The tribunal used a total of 177 out of the 180 days stipulated by section 285 of the 4th alteration of the 1999 constitution.

The judgment which started around 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday ended at 5:58 p.m.