Tribunal Strikes Out Key Portions of Atiku’s Petition Against Tinubu’s Victory
In a significant setback for the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abubakar Atiku, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has struck out multiple paragraphs of his petition aimed at challenging Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s presidency.
The Tribunal also rejected several exhibits and witness statements presented by Atiku to substantiate his claims of irregularities and malpractices during the February 25 presidential election.
Justice Moses Ugoh, delivering the ruling on objections presented by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, representing Tinubu, declared that several sections of Atiku’s petition lacked a solid legal foundation and, therefore, were not competent.
Much like the fate suffered by Peter Obi of the Labour Party, the court found that Atiku had not provided essential facts necessary to support his petition. Notably, Atiku failed to specify where ballot boxes were allegedly stolen, the methods by which BVAS machines were supposedly manipulated, and the names of polling booths where alleged malpractices occurred.
Furthermore, Atiku did not clearly state the total number of lawful votes he claimed to have received, despite asserting that he garnered the majority of lawful votes. This omission raised questions about the credibility of his allegations.
The Tribunal pointed out that Atiku accused Tinubu of not obtaining the majority of lawful votes but did not specify the exact number of lawful votes he believed Tinubu had secured.
Additionally, the Tribunal noted that Atiku made serious allegations against Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, and the Chairman of Olamaboro Local Government of Kogi, Friday Adejoh, but failed to include them as respondents in the petition. This omission was deemed fatal to the petition because it denied the Governor the opportunity to defend himself as required by law.
The Tribunal dismissed Atiku’s claims of overvoting across Nigeria, stating that such pleadings violated the law since they did not specify the exact locations where alleged overvoting occurred.
Furthermore, the Tribunal criticized Atiku for introducing various facts and allegations in an unlawful manner, catching the respondents off guard and employing unfair tactics.
Among the contentious new facts introduced by Atiku were allegations of criminal conviction, certificate forgery, and dual citizenship of Guinea against Tinubu, which were presented outside the standard procedure for filing petitions.
Justice Stephen Jonah Adah, who delivered another ruling on objections against the petition, removed several documents submitted by Atiku because they were created during the pendency of the petition.
Moreover, evidence from several key witnesses for Atiku was expunged from the Court record, as they had been presented in ways not recognized by the law.
The Tribunal’s decision to strike out significant portions of Atiku’s petition may have far-reaching implications for his legal battle to challenge Tinubu’s presidency.