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Party, candidate allege violations in petition against President Buhari, INEC, APC

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President Muhammadu Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressive Congress (APC) have again been dragged before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal over the allegedly unlawful manner the February 23 Presidential Election was conducted and the winner declared.

The petitioner, Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and its presidential candidate, Chief Ambrose Albert Owuru, are challenging the legality of the election earlier slated for February 16 and later February 23.

The petition marked CA/EPT/PRE/001/2019 filed March 7, 2019 is praying the tribunal to nullify the purported election of February 23 and the subsequent declaration of Buhari as winner on the ground that INEC has no power under any law to shift the February 16 date to 23 because the conditions precedent for the postponement of the elections were not observed.

The petitioners who claimed to have been excluded from participating in the February 23 poll avered that the election was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provision of the Electoral Act stipulating the condition under which election can be lawfully postponed.

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Among others, the main grouse of the petitioners was that they were validly nominated for the 2019 general elections but were unlawfully excluded from the said elections by INEC by delisting their names and party logo from the ballot papers.

The petitioners asserted that they will at the trial lead evidence and rely on the laws in support of their petition to establish that shifting of the election from February 16 to 23 was without the force of law and power to do so.

Another grouse of the petitioners was that the electoral body placed a false version of their registered party logo on the ballot papers for elections and thereby cost them the chances of realizing their political ambition in the 2018 general elections.

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Meanwhile, an ex-parte motion filed by the petitioners seeking to serve President Muhammadu Buhari with their petition and other processes is to be heard at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, today.

The ex-parte motion filed by Yusuf Ibrahim, an Abuja-based lawyer is seeking an order of the court to serve President Buhari by pasting their petition at the Aso Villa Presidential Office, the National Secretariat of the APC and at the Tribunal notice board.

The ex-parte application followed an affidavit of non-service deposed to by one Abubakar Mohammed, Chief Bailiff of the Appeal Court where he claimed that security officials at the reception of the Aso Presidential Villa denied him access to enter and effect service on President Muhammadu Buhari on the ground that there is no directive from the President’s office to that effect.

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