Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the last general election, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has concluded plans to file an appeal on Monday challenging the outcome of the Presidential Elections Petitions Tribunal, PEPT.
According to THISDAY, ahead of Wednesday’s deadline for an appeal against the tribunal’s judgement, Mr Atiku had put together 70 points as grounds for the appeal, which he plans to turn in on Monday.
The PEPT judgement was delivered on September 11 and Mr Atiku, as the appellant, had 14 days to file an appeal. By this calculation, the deadline for the filling of an appeal is Wednesday, September 25, while the petition has a lifespan of 60 days within which the appeal must be determined.
An unnamed Mr Atiku’s lawyer was quoted by the newspaper as saying that the former vice president’s lawyers had put together 70 grounds of appeal based on errors dictated from the tribunal’s judgement.
According to him, “We will file latest on Monday, September 23, and at most, due to any unforeseen reason, by September 24. Bear in mind that the deadline for submission is Wednesday. We won’t file on Wednesday for tactical reasons.”
The lawyer also ruled out the possibility of a new legal team, because the new lawyers would not have sufficient legal background of the petition since the Supreme Court panel is expected to deliver its judgement within 60 days from September 25.
He said one of the 70 grounds of appeal is that “the judgement of the PEPT was based on the facts; the judgement was not on the issues presented to the Court of Appeal presidential tribunal by the petitioner, especially in relation to the respondent’s academic qualifications.”
He said, “Take, for instance, one of the respondent’s witnesses, Major General Paul Tarfa (rtd), called by President Muhammadu Buhari’s lawyers said that they did not give their qualifications to the Military Board. Tarfa’s testimony is against the claim by Buhari that the Nigeria military is in possession of his certificates.
“Secondly, Buhari said that he was recruited into the military in 1961 and Tarfa said in 1962, so what is the correct date of his recruitment into the army?Somebody is not telling the truth.
“The issue in question is who entered the different grades for him from both the Cambridge and the West African School Certificate results. This is the first time that the court will say that the documents are admitted in the interest of justice. So, who entered the different grades for him and if he did it, why?
“One of the grounds of appeal is that the President’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, brought the Cambridge documents dated July 18 and testified on July 20. The point here is that it was not pleaded, when the respondent replied to the petitions of Atiku. So, speaking as in point of law, you don’t speak on documents not pleaded.
“The WAEC documents contradicted the Cambridge documents. This is a case of forgery, inconsistency in documents.”
The lawyer added, “On the INEC server, the judgement of the PEPT said the INEC server was hacked and we then asked, which of the servers was hacked?
“The tribunal judgement was based on the Electoral Act section 52 (1) (B), but this aspect of the law has since been deleted in 2015. It is no longer in existence. This was the case in Wike Vs Peterside.
“If the judgement said INEC server was recklessly hacked, then, there is a server and, therefore, a criminal offence. Yet, INEC did not claim so or that its documents were stolen. How come the judge reached this scandalous decision?
“If section 52 (1) (B) is no longer in existence, how come the lead judgement came to this decision? It was not based on the documents pleaded. Therefore, how come it was decided so? That means that the judge went on a voyage of discoveries and exploration. Buhari was not accused of forgery. Rather, he was accused of lying, when he said the army was in possession of his documents.
“In his form CF001, he presented an affidavit, instead of his certificates. PEPT relied on the CV presented. We are asking, is that supposed to be so? CV is basically to show working experience. No Primary School certificate. The judgement was based on inferences. The judge simply inferred.
“We are surprised that the PEPT went the way it did. It is our view that the judges would have gone further to help improve our electoral laws as well as use it to commence the reform of the electoral laws. So, these are some of the issues that form the grounds of the 70 points of appeal at the Supreme Court.”