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Atiku tells tribunal to declare him president

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By Abraham Adekunle

PDP presidential candidate argued that Tinubu was not qualified to contest.

Although the administration of Bola Tinubu is almost nearing its two-month mark, the presidential candidates of both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) have lodged complaints at the courts challenging the outcome of the 2023 presidential elections. In a controversial move, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate as the president-elect, who was consequently sworn in on May 29, 2023. Since then, the election tribunal has been hearing the case and is set to make a decision soon.

Presently, PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has asked the Presidential Election Petition Court to declare him the winner of the February 25 presidential election, having won in 21 states. The reasons he gave were that Tinubu had an order of criminal forfeiture against him arising from a drug-related offense as well as his declaration of allegiance to a country other than Nigeria, acquisition of citizenship of another country and presenting a forged certificate to the first respondent (INEC).

INEC had asserted that Atiku and the PDP won in 21 states.

In addition, Atiku also stated that he had proven that the return of Tinubu in the election as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was “invalidated by reason of substantial non-compliance with the mandatory provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 on electronic transmission of results for collation and verification by deliberate bypass of and failure to transmit the election results electronically.” This request was made in his final address filed at the PEPC on July 20 in support of his joint petition with the PDP, seeking the nullification of the electoral commission’s declaration of Tinubu.

The final address, which was signed by his lead counsel Chief Chris Uche (SAN), also stated that INEC assertion that he won in 21 states was neither “disputed, retracted, debunked nor claimed to be an error through the proceedings of the tribunal so far.” Meanwhile, INEC had asserted in its response to Atiku’s petition that the PDP presidential candidate won 21 states of the federation in the February 25 presidential poll. The 21 states were Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Bavelsa, Borno, Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Osun, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara.

Uphold the assertion, Atiku tells Nigeria’s electoral body.

Since it was INEC that claimed on its own averment that he had won the states and did not rebut it throughout the proceedings, the PDP candidate is asking the tribunal to uphold the declaration. Part of the final address says, “The petitioners have established that the return of the 2nd respondent as the winner of the presidential election held on 25th day of February 2023, was unlawful and unconstitutional, having not secured one-quarter of the valid votes cast in the FCT, Abuja as required by the Constitution of the Federation of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended).”

He added that the fact that a presidential election has never been nullified by the courts in Nigeria before now was not a good reason not to do so now, as it is very just to do so, according to him. Of course, his arguments did not include the fact that he did not get up to 25 percent of the votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). At the advent of the petitions at the tribunal, there had been a nationwide debate about whether a presidential candidate needs to get up to 25 percent in the FCT to be declared winner.

LP candidate is also seeking Tinubu’s disqualification.

Asides Atiku Abubakar, LP presidential candidate, Peter Gregory Obi, is also seeking the disqualification of Tinubu at the tribunal. His case is the one which seems to have gained traction especially on social media. Peter Obi’s legal side has hammered on Tinubu’s failure to secure 25 percent of FCT votes, his forfeiture of $460,000 due to the funds being associated with drug dealings and at a time that his earnings was less than $50,000 annually, his second citizenship, and certificate forgery.

Related Link

INEC Nigeria: Website

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