The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal is set to deliver judgment in a case filed by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 23 general election.
Appearances from Parties and their legal representatives were taken.
The tribunal started the Judgment by delivering ruling of Interlocutory applications which arguments were taken and ruling reserved before going into the main Judgment.
The first Interlocutory ruling is on the Motion on Notice by APC that non Joinder of Prof Yemi Osibanjo the Vice president and running mate to Buhari had rendered the Atiku’s petition invalid.
The court ruled in favour of Atiku that Vice president Yemi Osibanjo is not a necessary party to the proceedings and the petition proceeding to hearing without joining Osibanjo Buhari’ s running mate is valid.
The second ruling is on the Motion on Notice filed by APC 2nd respondent asking the Court to strike out Atiku’s list of Documents, list witnesses and some paragraphs of Atiku’ s petition for being incompetent and being pre-election matters including whether Atiku’s lead lawyer Dr. Livy Uzoukwu is a lawyer in Nigeria to competently sign Atiku’s petition. The court ruled the second motion in favour Atiku.
The court further ruled that Atiku’s grounds on Buhari’s qualifications is competent and can be raised either as pre-election matter or post-election matter by way of election petition. They finally refused the application in favour of Atiku.
The third Motion on Notice is asking the Court strike out some grounds of Atiku’s Reply in support of his Petition. The ruling succeeds in some part in favour of Atiku whereas some part are against Atiku.
The Fourth Ruling is on the Motion on Notice filed by Buhari asking the Court to strike out some paragraphs of Atiku’s Reply in support of the petition on the ground that Atiku was not qualified to stand for the presidential election.
The court resolved some issues forming grounds of the Motion on Notice in favour of Atiku while some grounds were resolved against Atiku.
The Fifth ruling is on the Motion on Notice filed by Buhari asking the Court to strike out Atiku’s petition or some paragraphs of the petition. Out of the six grounds upon which Buhari’s motion on Notice is predicted, grounds 1,2,3 and 4 resolved in favour of Atiku while grounds 5 and 6 were resolved in favour of Buhari.
The sixth ruling is on the Motion on Notice filed by the 3rd respondent asking the Court to strike out some grounds and paragraphs of Atiku’s petition.
Some grounds resolved in favour of Atiku while some grounds were resolved against Atiku.
The Seventh ruling is on the Motion on Notice filed by Atiku asking the Court to strike out some grounds of the 3rd respondent reply.
The Eight ruling is on the Motion on Notice filed by APC asking the Court to strike out Atiku’s petition on the ground that Atiku was not qualified to stand for the presidential election.
The court struck out the Motion on notice and ruled in favour of Atiku.
The Ninth ruling is on the Motion on Notice filed by APC asking the Court to strike out some grounds and paragraphs of Atiku’s petition.
Court ruled in favour of Atiku, stating that APC contention that Atiku was not qualified to stand for the presidential election is not valid.
The court also held that NIMC Act is not applicable to court proceedings.
National Identity is not a requirement and conditions for filing court processes.
Tribunal goes on short break.
Tribunal reconvenes to give final judgement in the case of Atiku and Buhari.
Buhari’s motion on Notice contending that Atiku cannot competently raise the issue of Buhari’s qualifications not possessing the basic constitutional requirements to stand for the office of the President was thrown out against Buhari.
The issue of INEC server and electronic transmission of votes resolved against Atiku, on the ground that those issues are outside the current Electoral Act and Constitution 1999 (as amended)
The Tribunal stated that Buhari is not only qualified but eminently qualified to contest the presidential election, says Tribunal.
Buhari would have been qualified by mere showing that he had primary school education. The tribunal says the courses attended by Buhari are higher than secondary school education. Exhibits 21 and 24 tendered by the petitioners showed that Buhari had WASC.
The petitioners have failed to discharge the burden of proof of the allegation of non-qualification or submission of false information which is fundamental in the aid of the 2nd respondent’s qualification, the tribunal declares.
It also says failure of Atiku to call witnesses to give first hand information from Polling Units is fatal to his case adding that the evidence and testimonies of 62 witnesses called by Atiku is not substantial enough to prove serious allegations of electoral and corrupt malpractice, misconduct, over-voting as alleged by Atiku.
In its final ruling, the Justice Garba led panel struck out the suit by Atiku and upheld President Buhari’s election.