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Tribunal reserves judgement after Buhari’s petition defence

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The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has reserved judgment in the suit filed by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party challenging the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

A five-man panel of the tribunal headed by Justice Mohammed Garba reserved its judgment to a date to be communicated to all the parties involved in the petition.

One of PDP and Atiku’s petition against the Nigeria president’s second term election was based on Buhari’s academic qualification.

The PDP and its candidate are asking the tribunal to disqualify Buhari’s election if he fails to tender his academic certificates.

Buhari’s lawyer Wole Olanipekun told the election tribunal that the country’s constitution does not demand he produces his certificates to contest for president.

“We need to make it very clear at this point that the Constitution and laws of the land do not expect any Certificate to be tendered or attached,” Olanipekun said.

Atiku Abubakar, a former Nigeria vice president and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are challenging the election result which Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared President Muhammadu Buhari the winner.

INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu said Buhari polled 15,191,847 votes to defeat Atiku, who polled 11,262,978 votes.

While adopting his final brief of argument in opposition to the petition Buhari argued that the Nigeria 1999 Constitution only required that a presidential candidate must be educated.

He, therefore, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition challenging his election and his educational qualifications, saying it lacked merit and substance.

“The law is well settled and the case-law is crystalized on the point that the 2nd Respondent (Buhari) cannot go beyond provisions of sections 131 and 131(8) of the 1999 Constitution.

“The case-law is replete with decisions of this Court on the subject. We cannot amend the constitution.”

Buhari’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, through their lawyers, Prince Lateef Fagbami, SAN, and Yunus Usman, SAN, also asked the Justice Mohammed Garba-led tribunal to dismiss the petition.

APC said it would be bad to create a public impression that President Buhari lacks basic educational qualifications.

The Justice Garba-led panel would after all the parties have adopted their final addresses, reserve the petition for judgement.


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