The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal on Wednesday struck out several paragraphs of the petitions presented by the People Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in the February polls, Atiku Abubakar, to nullify Tinubu’s victory as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Also, the tribunal rejected and discountenanced exhibits including witnesses’ statements tendered by Abubakar to substantiate his allegations of electoral irregularities and malpractices at the last presidential election.
Delivering judgment in some objections argued by Tinubu’s lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun SAN, Justice Moses Ugoh, held that several parts of Atiku’s petition could neither stand nor survive, hence, is incompetent.
In a similar judgement meted to presentations by Labour Party’s Peter Obi, the Court held that Abubakar failed to provide several facts fundamentally required to support his petition.
Inter alia, the court said the PDP candidate failed to name the places where ballot boxes were snatched, the ways and manners the BVAS machines were manipulated, and specific polling units where the alleged malpractices happened.
Abubakar, who claimed to have polled the majority of lawful votes was said to have failed to state, in strong terms, the total lawful votes he claimed to have scored.
The Tribunal held that although the former Vice President alleged that Tinubu did not score the majority of lawful votes, he failed to reveal the perceived lawful votes in his petition to the Tribunal.
Correspondingly, the Tribunal said Abubakar made grievous allegations against Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and Chairman of Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi, Friday Adejoh, but neglected to join them as respondents in the petition.
Justice Ugoh held that failure to join the governor, who was accused of electoral fraud obstructed the petition because the governor was denied the opportunity to defend himself as required by law.
Therefore, the Tribunal dismissed the allegations of over-voting nationwide by the petitioner saying such pleadings run foul of the law because he failed to mention the specific locations where the alleged over-voting took place.
Abubakar’s petition was also faulted for introducing several facts and allegations in unlawful ways that caught the respondents unaware, adding that the tactic employed was unfair and made him clever by half.
Amongst the new facts he was said to have wrongfully introduced were the allegations of certificate forgery, criminal conviction, and dual citizenship of Guinea, made against Tinubu outside the mode of filing a petition.
Justice Stephen Adah, who read another ruling on objections against the petition, expunged several documents tendered by Atiku on the ground that the exhibits were made during the pendency of the petition.
More so, the tribunal expunged several key witnesses of Abubakar from the tribunal record for having been made in manners not known to law.
It held that the wrongful mode adopted by the Adamawa-born presidential candidate in the construction of the petition made several paragraphs liable for expunging due to lack of merit.
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