- As Tribunal begins hearing on Atiku’s petition against Buhari
There were indications of palpable fear in the presidency and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abuja, officially commenced hearing in the petitions filed by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election.
Atiku Abubakar, the PDP and three other political parties and their presidential candidates, filed different petitions challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), at the tribunal.
National Daily learned that Atiku, PDP and others, in their respective petitions are seeking the cancellation of the presidential election result announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the nullification of President Buhari’s victory in the February 23 presidential election, raising allegations of rigging and violation of the Electoral Act amongst other electoral malpractices.
The other political parties include the Hope Democratic Party (HDP), its presidential candidate, Ambrose Owuru; Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) and its presidential candidate, Aminchi Habu, and the Coalition for Change, (C4C) and its presidential candidate, Jeff Ojinka.
Atiku in his petition is asking the tribunal to disqualify Buhari on the grounds that he did not possess the requisite academic qualification to contest for the office of the President.
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The petition which listed five grounds of pretest alleged that Buhari lied about his academic qualification as well as schools attended in his form 001 submitted to INEC for purpose of contesting the 2019 presidential election.
National Daily recalls that Atiku and PDP filed their petition against the result of the election at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) in Abuja, on March 18, 2019.
The petition of Atiku and the PDP faulted the conduct of the February 23 presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). They request the tribunal to disqualify Buhari on the grounds that he was not qualified to have contested the election in the first place and as such, all votes accredited to him by INEC should be declared as rejected votes.
Other petitioners in their separate petitions demand the tribunal to nullify the election of Buhari on grounds of alleged massive rigging of the February 23 presidential election as well as substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the law by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC).
Respondents in the petitions are President Buhari, APC, INEC and the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
However, Buhari, the APC and INEC in their separate replies have urged the tribunal to uphold their victory at the February 23 election, dismissing the various petitions on grounds that the allegations against the conduct of the election were baseless, unsubstantiated and lacking in merit.