JUST IN: Finally, Tribunal upholds Buhari’s victory

The 2019 Presidential election petition tribunal has dismissed the petition filed by the People’s Democratic Party and Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar for lacking in merit.

Led by Justice Mujammed Garba,the tribunal, which gave its judgement late Wednesday morning at the Court of Appeal Headquarters in Abuja, said that the petitioner had failed to prove the claims based on which he asked for the voiding of Buhari’s election.

The 5-man panel consequently dismissed the petition “in its entirety”. It however did not award costs to any of the parties.

Justice Garba, who read the lead judgement, held that President Buhari ” is eminently qualified” to contest the 2019 presidential election..

Citing a previous Supreme Court judgment, he said: “Submission of educational certificate is not a requirement for qualification to contest election for governor under section 177 of the Constitution. “It is established that a candidate is not required under the Electoral Act to attach his certificate to his Form CF001 before a candidate is adjudged to have the requisite qualification to contest the election.

“In effect, the 2nd defendant went through secondary education and then proceeded to military school. The military school is higher than secondary education. “”Thus our conclusion is that Buhari is not only qualified but eminently qualified to contest the presidential election.”

“The onus rests squarely on the petitioners to prove their assertion that the 2nd respondent does not possess the educational qualification to contest the election or that he submitted false information which is fundamental in nature to aid his qualification. This I have mentioned that the petitioners failed to prove. The petitioners cannot, therefore, rely on any failure in the case. “I come to the conclusion and I resolve issues 1 and 2 against the petitioners.

“I have no doubt in my mind that the petitioners have failed to prove that the second respondent does not possess the qualification to contest the election into the office of the President as stipulated in section 131, 137, 138 of the Constitution. I am also of the firm view that the petitioners have failed to prove that the second respondent submitted false information which is fundamental in nature to aid his qualification to contest the election into the Office of the President as prescribed in section 35(1) of the Evidence Act, 2011.” The tribunal also dismissed the PDP claim on central server and electronic transmission of results. The panel insisted that manual provided by INEC did not provide for electronic transmission of results. Justice Garba added: “These claims cannot be countenanced because they lack worth. “Based on the available evidence, it is clear that the results were collated manually.

“The evidence and report of witness 59 of the petitioners (PW59), cannot be relied on that there was indeed INEC server or servers, as the case may be, into which the results of the presidential election were transmitted”.

“Card reader machine has not replaced the voter register. A petitioner must rely on the card reader to provenonene-accreditation or over voting.. ”
“I have carefully examined and examined Exhibit 28 (INEC Manual for Election) tendered by the petitioners, I did not see where there is provision for electronic transmission of result of election..”

“The petitioners have therefore failed to prove that the second respondent (President Buhari) did not score a majority of lawful votes in the election. ”

This matter (issue 3) is hereby resolved against the petitioners.” The tribunal also quashed the allegation of malpractices during the election. After resolving all the issues in favour of the respondents, the panel held that President Buhari was duly re-elected in the country’s last presidential election.

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