Presidential Election Petition Tribunal reaffirms Buhari's victory
The tribunal said none of the evidence provided by the petitioners proved the allegations.
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja today has dismissed the petition by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in which the petitioners challenged the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari who won the February 23, 2019 presidential election.
The petitioners had alleged the election was marred by irregularities, manipulation of result sheets, voter intimidation, overvoting, amongst other charges. They also alleged non-qualification of Buhari, stating he failed to provide the requisite educational qualification to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The five-member tribunal, led by Garba Mohammed, upheld Buhari’s victory, and ruled that “There is no doubt the second respondent is not only qualified but is also eminently qualified.” Citing a previous Supreme Court ruling, the tribunal said the submission of educational certificate is "not a requirement for qualification to contest election for governor under section 177 Constitution.”
The tribunal also said none of the evidence provided by the petitioners proved the allegations, such as overvoting.
"In the final result, and I have come to the conclusion which is inevitable and unavoidable, that the petitioners have not proved any of the grounds of the petition in paragraph 15 of the petition," said Justice Mohammed. “This petition is accordingly and hereby dismissed in its entirety.”
On the use of a central server by INEC, the tribunal said under the Electoral Act, the transmission of election result is manual. Justice Mohammed said the allegation about an INEC server was based on a whistleblower website, whose testimony could not be relied on.
Besides, the court said, “There is no provision authorising the first respondent or any of its officers to transfer election results to any of the servers. There is also nothing allowing the first respondents to use the smart card reader for the collation of results.”
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