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Atiku, PDP appeal tribunal judgement

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A combo picture shows Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and main opposition party presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar addressing supporters during campaign rallies ahead of the country’s presidential election in Lagos, Nigeria. Pictures taken accordingly on February 9, 2019 and February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Luc Gnago /Temilade Adelaja/File Photo

Atiku Abubakar and his party the People’s Democratic Party Tuesday appealed the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal at the Supreme Court.

The tribunal, on September 11, dismissed the petitions the PDP and its presidential candidate in Nigeria’s last general election, ruling against the petitioners.

The tribunal rejected all three of Atiku’s claims: that the election was marred by irregularities, that he [Atiku] received more votes than Buhari and that the president did not have a secondary school certificate, a basic requirement to contest the election.

“This petition is hereby dismissed in its entirety,” Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba ruled.

But Atiku and PDP, in their appeal to the Supreme Court said the five-man tribunal erred in law “when they relied on ‘overall interest of justice’ to hold that the 2nd Respondent’s Exhibits R1 to R26, P85, and P86 were properly admitted in evidence.”

Atiku and his party further filed that they pleaded and proved the allegation that Buhari gave false information of a fundamental nature to INEC in aid of his qualification, adding that the Nigerian Military denied that it held or was in possession of the President’s certificates.

They are therefore asking the Supreme Court to set aside the judgment of the tribunal and grant the prayers sought by them.

After the verdict of the tribunal, Buhari said it was time for the country to move forward past all “bickering and potential distractions over an election in which Nigerians spoke clearly and resoundingly.”

The president won the poll in February with 56% of the vote against 41% for Atiku, the electoral commission said in February.

Atiku rejected the result hours after Buhari was declared the winner, calling the election a “sham”. He promised to seek redress in court, hence the tribunal.

Every presidential election result has been challenged in court since Nigeria 1999, except for the 2015 election which the then incumbent Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat to Buhari.

On each of those occasions, the losing candidate took their case to the election tribunal and later appealed at the Supreme Court. The losing candidate lost the case every time.


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