Thursday, February 18, 2021

Sack Buhari, declare me president-elect, Atiku begs tribunal


tiamin rice

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have asked to be declared winner of the 2019 presidential election that held on February 23.

Mr Atiku and his party made this demand in a 43-page final address filed through their lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu, before the presidential election tribunal on August 14.

The petitioners also said they had proven their claim that President Muhammadu Buhari did not have the minimum academic qualification of a secondary school certificate to contest the election.

According to the petitioners, the tribunal should, therefore, sack President Buhari on that basis.

Recall that the tribunal had on August 1 adjourned till August 21 for the adoption of final addresses by parties shortly after the respondents closed their defence against the petition of Mr Abubakar and PDP.

Proving their case, the petitioners had called in 62 witnesses and tendered documents, including video evidence to prove their claims.

While Mr Buhari as the second respondent in the petition called in only seven witnesses and tendered few documents in defence of his victory, INEC and the APC said they would be relying on the testimonies made by the petitioners’ witnesses during their cross-examination.

However, Mr Abubakar and the PDP in the final address, asked the tribunal to nullify the election of Mr Buhari since they have been able to prove the fact that he was not qualified to run in the first place.

Besides, they said they had proved all allegations contained in their petition against the conduct of the presidential election by the INEC.

According to them, five major issues for determination by the five-member tribunal, led by Mohammed Garba, include whether Mr Buhari at the time of the election was qualified to contest the election.

“Whether Buhari submitted to INEC affidavit containing false information of fundamental nature in aid of his qualification for the said election.

“Whether from the pleadings and evidence led it was established that Buhari was duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election.

“Whether the presidential election conducted by INEC on February 23 was invalid by reason of corrupt practices; and

“Whether the presidential election conducted by INEC on February 23 was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended, the Electoral Guidelines 2019 and manuals issued for the conduct of the election,” they said in the filing seen by PREMIUM TIMES on Friday.

The petitioners said even the witnesses Mr Buhari presented to defend him, under cross-examination, admitted to the fact that the president did not possess a school certificate, being the basic requirements for contesting for the office of the president.

“We, therefore, submit that all the purported evidence led by the second respondent (Buhari) to prove that he attended a secondary school or a primary school or that he attended some courses is irrelevant because he did not rely on any of those purported qualifications in exhibit P1, he relied on primary school certificate, WASC and Officer Cadet.

“Equally futile is his attempt to prove that he can speak and write in the English language. That is all irrelevant to his inability to produce his primary school certificate, secondary school certificate or WASC and his Officer Cadet qualification, whatever that means. Officer Cadet is not a qualification or certificate under the constitution and Electoral Act; nor is it known to any law,” they said.

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