11th September, 2019
The Presidential Election Tribunal has ruled that it was wrong for Atiku Abubakar and his party to raise criminal allegations of intimidation, harassment and corruption against security personnel and some named persons, but who are not parties to their petitions.
It was one of applications filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission against the petitioners, asking the court to strike out the petitions.
But the tribunal said the court lacked the vires to entertain any criminal allegations against any person, who is not before it.
Justice Garba Mohammed proceeded to strike out portions of the petition by Atiku and the PDP, where such allegations are contained.
In another ruling the court upheld the petitioners’ contention that, issues of qualification and whether or not a candidate supplied false personal information to INEC before the election, could be heard before or after an election.
The court said questions about a candidate’s qualification could be pre-election and post-election issues that could be heard either in a High Court or an election tribunal.
It held that it has jurisdiction to determine the issue of whether or not Buhari was qualified to contest the election and whether or not he lied in the personal information contained in the affidavit he submitted to INEC as alleged by the petitioners.
“I am of the view that the contents of section 138 (1)a does not fall in the category of a pre-election matter,” Justice Mohammed said.
He said although the issue relates to a matter that happened before the election, the issues relate to vital points that cannot be relegated just to a pre-election matter.