Atiku filed imprecise, vague case: PEPC

Atiku

Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of PDP in 2023 election

The Presidential Election Petition Court has dismissed the case filed by Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, challenging the election of President Bola Tinubu.

Justice Moses Ugo who read the verdict of the court said Atiku’s petition was filled with nebulous and generic allegations.

He said the petition failed to specify particular polling units where malpractices took place in Kogi or in Lagos.

Justice Ugo cited paragraphs of Atiku’s petition that are “imprecise and vague”.

He said many others “lacked particulars” and went on to dismiss them.

Justice Stephen Adah who continued reading the verdict pointed out the failure of Atiku to file the witness statements on oath along with his petition.

Adah cited a comment in a book by PDP’s lawyer, Chris Uche, in which Uche counselled on the need for all depositions to be filed with the petition within the specified timeframe.

However, Uche was canvassing a contrary position, in Atiku’s case against Tinubu.

Justice Adah nevertheless said he is adopting the position of Uche.

“I shall hold counsel to his words, not only because they are coming from him, but also because they are true,” Mr Adah said.

In this vein, Justice Adah rejected 15 witnesses called by Atiku on the grounds that their witness statements on oath were not filed along with his petition.

He expunged 37 exhibits tendered by the witnesses from the court’s records, marking the end of the ruling on preliminary issues raised.

Justice Haruna Tsammani took over to deal with the substantive petition.

He raised four issues that will determine Atiku’s petition.

They are : Whether the return of Mr Tinubu was invalid by reason of substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act in the conduct of the 25 Feb. election.

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*Whether Tinubu was lawfully declared the winner of the election when he did not secure 25 per cent of the votes in FCT.

* Whether Tinubu was qualified to contest the election after a US court’s forfeiture order against him in a drugs-related case in 1993.

* Whether Tinubu was lawfully declared as the winner of the election based on the majority of lawful votes.

According to Tsammani, Atiku failed to prove non-compliance with the Electoral Act as he lacked witnesses to prove it. .

The most vital witnesses polling unit agents who signed the polling unit results and witnessed what took place in their domains.

Atiku only provided state and national agents, not agents at polling units.

Justice Tsammani noted that of the 27 witnesses called by Atiku, 10 of them were presiding officers at their polling units in different states.

Their testimonies however showed that the election went well, except that they were not able to connect to INEC’s portal.”

Justice Tsammani said the election process only provides for manual collation of results and not electronic collation.

He said that BVAS is not a device for transmission of results to any collation system and that the IReV into which the scanned copies of polling unit results could be transferred is not a collation system.

On the second issue about Tinubu winning 25 percent of votes in FCT, Justice Tsammani upheld the earlier decision, in the case of Peter Obi.

Similarly, the court adopted its earlier position on the forfeiture of $460,000 to a US court by Tinubu in 1993.

Since Tinubu was not convicted, it could not be a ground for disqualification.

On the fourth issue, Justice Tsammani said Tinubu was lawfully declared as he won the majority of lawful votes and 25 percent in 30 states.

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