Home » Court reserves judgment on Atiku’s petition against Tinubu, INEC 

Court reserves judgment on Atiku’s petition against Tinubu, INEC 

by Akeem Adeyemi
Tinubu and Atiku

The Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, reserved its judgment on the petition that a former Vice President and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, filed to nullify President Bola Tinubu’s election.

Justice Haruna Tsammani-led’s five-member panel okayed the case for judgement after all the parties adopted their final briefs of argument.

Atiku and the PDP, through their team of lawyers led by Chief Chris Uche, SAN, while adopting their final written address, insisted that the court should declare President Tinubu not qualified to contest the presidential poll that was held on February 25.

The Petitioners also urged the court to nullify the entire outcome of the presidential election and order a re-run or fresh contest.

Atiku and his party alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, despite receiving over N355 billion for the conduct of the election, deliberately circumvented all the technological innovations it introduced for the 2023 general elections.

They contended that INEC acted in breach of the amended Electoral Act when it refused to electronically transmit the results of the presidential election.

Said “On the issue of transmission of election results based on new provisions in the Electoral Act, we are all in agreement, including the INEC, that there is a new regime in election management.

“The essence of the innovation was to enhance transparency in the collation of results, which was an area where we usually had problems and not the actual election, and secondly, to enhance the integrity of the result declared.

“We agree that INEC had an option and we brought a video evidence by INEC Chairman showing that the electoral body indeed chose an option.

“It is our contention and it is here in evidence that witnesses admitted that results from the National Assembly election were transmitted but that of the presidential election was not.

“A whopping N355bn was deployed for the election, therefore, INEC owes this court and the nation an explanation.

“It is our submission that there was no technical glitch on the election day, rather, there was a deliberate bypass of the technology to create room for the manipulation that eventually took place.

“Until the court makes a judicial pronouncement, there may not be compliance to express provisions of the new regime of the Electoral Act.

“My lords, I’m in a situation like this, the burden shifts on INEC to explain. It is not on the Petitioner to explain why there was such a technical glitch.

“We urge this court to hold that there was a deliberate non-compliance. The substantiality of the non-compliance lies in the national spread of the non-transmission of results. It was national and not limited to certain polling units,” Uche, SAN, added.

However, all the Respondents- INEC, President Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress, APC- through their respective lawyers, prayed the court to dismiss the petition as grossly lacking in merit.

INEC, through its legal team led by Mr Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, maintained that the presidential election was not only validly conducted but done in substantial compliance with all the relevant laws.

Similarly, President Tinubu’s team, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, argued that the petitioners failed to establish why the presidential election should be nullified.

Insisting that he was duly elected with a majority of valid votes that were cast during the election, President Tinubu, urged the court to dismiss Atiku’s petition.

On its part, the APC, represented by Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, equally prayed the court to dismiss the petition for want of merit.

However, the Justice Tsammani-led panel after listening to all the parties, adjourned the matter for judgement.

The court said it would communicate the judgement date to all the parties.

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