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Presidential Tribunal: Disqualify Tinubu, declare me winner or order a re-run or run-off, Atiku tells court

.Court reserves judgment  as parties adopt final addresses

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CHIGOZIE IKPO, Abuja

 

The Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has asked the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), sitting in Abuja, to declare him the winner of the February 25 election that produced Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President.

While adopting his final written address on Tuesday, in his petition marked: CA/PEPC/05/2023, challenging the outcome of the presidential election, Atiku asked the court to disqualify President Tinubu due to the weight of allegations against him.

The  Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel of the court had on the last adjourned date directed parties to prepare their final briefs of argument and appear before it to adopt.

Addressing the court through his team of lawyers led by Chief Chris Uche (SAN), Atiku added that in the alternative, the court should order a re-run of the presidential election or a run-off election for the office of the President.

The court, in a notice to the parties, invited them to adopt their written address with respect to the petition filed against President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima, praying the court to nullify their election.

At the commencement of the adoption process, Counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) A.B Mahmoud (SAN), asked the court to dismiss the petition, as the petitioners have not proved that there were corrupt practices during the election, so the election cannot be said to be corrupt.

He noted that on the issue of non-compliance, the electoral act did not mandate the use of the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal, but that of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), which some of the witnesses called by the Petitioners confirmed that they were able to upload some results but couldn’t upload others due to network glitches.

On the issue of 25% of FCT, Mahmood said, that though being the nation’s capital, Abuja is the 37th state of the federation and should be treated as such.

Also adopting his final written address, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), appealed to the court to dismiss the petition on the ground that the petitioners in their final written address, wasted time attacking the 2nd respondent(Tinubu), instead of proving their case, which goes to show that they have no case.

The Senior lawyer went on to describe the petitioners as “Meddlesome Interlopers” who abandoned their case without a prayer before the court and concentrated on attacking the 2nd respondent.

He agreed with the counsel to INEC, that Abuja, despite being the Federal Capital Territory, is the 37th state of the federation and not a special entity.

On his part, counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) also prayed the court to dismiss the petition, on the grounds that, all points raised in the petition had been ruled on by other courts.

He noted the issue of election results, that the petitioners, did not prove that election did not hold in any area, neither did they prove that the results were purported as their witnesses did not disagree with the results of the election, as the only complain they had was the uploading of results.

On the issue of 25% in Abuja, he said treating Abuja special will be an undue privilege, discrimination and elevation of a state, above others.

Fagbemi (SAN) added that on the issue of forfeiture, it was a civil forfeiture, not a criminal forfeiture.

Adopting his final address, Chief Uche representing Atiku agreed that the Electoral Act did not mandate the uploading of results to IREV, but the INEC has a choice to decide which means to use for collation of results.

He however noted that INEC made a choice, which was communicated to all parties and the Nation by the Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, that there will be uploading of results to the IReV portal.

He also noted that INEC deployed machines to be used for the election and they agreed that there were technical glitches, which means they made a choice to use technology, as such the issue of non-compliance was a deliberate act of the 1st respondent (INEC).

On the issue of 25% in the FCT, Chief Uche noted that according to the Constitution, the nation has only 36 states and FCT, which makes Abuja special, praying the court to discountenance the objections of the respondents.

Justice Tsammani thanked all parties for their cooperation so far and reserved judgment for a later date which will be communicated to them.

 

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