The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal dealt a significant blow to Atiku Abubakar’s attempts to nullify Tinubu’s victory in the February polls, citing a lack of merit in the petitions.
Atiku, the presidential candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP), had filed petitions contesting the Independent National Electoral Commission’s announcement of Tinubu’s victory.
In a judgment delivered following objections raised by Tinubu’s lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun SAN, Justice Moses Ugoh struck out multiple paragraphs of Atiku’s petitions, deeming them incompetent and unable to stand or survive.
The tribunal also rejected the exhibits and witness statements presented by Atiku in support of his allegations of electoral irregularities and malpractices during the presidential election.
One of the critical issues pointed out by the court was Atiku’s failure to provide essential facts to support his claims.
He did not specify the locations where ballot boxes were allegedly snatched, how BVAS machines were manipulated, or the polling units where malpractices were said to have occurred.
Furthermore, Atiku’s failure to clearly state the total lawful votes he claimed to have received weakened his case.
Despite asserting that Tinubu did not score the majority of lawful votes, Atiku did not present the perceived lawful votes in his petition.
The tribunal also noted that Atiku made serious allegations against Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and Chairman of Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi, Friday Adejoh, but did not include them as respondents in the petition.
This omission denied the governor the opportunity to defend himself as required by law.
The allegations of nationwide over-voting were dismissed by the tribunal, as Atiku did not specify the locations where the alleged over-voting occurred.
The court also criticized Atiku for introducing certain facts and allegations improperly, including claims of certificate forgery, criminal conviction, and dual citizenship of Guinea, outside the accepted mode of filing a petition.
Justice Stephen Adah, in another ruling on objections against the petition, removed several documents tendered by Atiku, stating that they were produced during the pendency of the petition.
Additionally, several key witnesses presented by Atiku were expunged from the tribunal record for not conforming to legal procedures.
The tribunal’s decision to dismiss Atiku’s petitions underscores the necessity for thorough and legally sound arguments in electoral disputes, reinforcing the principle that unsubstantiated claims cannot overturn election results.
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