Abubakar Atiku, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) nominee for president, suffered a significant defeat in his court fight to unseat Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Nigeria’s elected leader on Wednesday.
This is because the petition he used to demand Tinubu’s dismissal had key parts stricken out by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
Additionally, the Tribunal rejected and disregarded a number of materials, including witness statements he offered to support his claims of irregularities and malpractices in the presidential election on February 25.
Justice Moses Ugoh issued a ruling in response to several objections raised by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, on behalf of Tinubu, holding that several sections of Atiku’s petition lack the foundation necessary for them to stand and remain viable, making them incompetent.
The court ruled that Atiku failed to submit many facts necessary to support the case, just to what happened to his Labour Party colleague Peter Obi.
Among other things, Atiku was said to have omitted and failed to disclose locations where ballot boxes were stolen, the methods and techniques used to control the BVAS system, and the names of polling places where alleged irregularities occurred.
The petitioner, who claimed to have received the majority of valid votes, was accused of failing to clearly indicate how many valid votes he actually received.
The Court ruled that although Atiku claimed Tinubu did not receive the majority of legal votes, he failed to disclose those votes in his plea to the Tribunal.
In a same vein, the Tribunal claimed that the former vice president leveled serious accusations against Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi State, and Friday Adejoh, the head of Olamaboro Local Government in Kogi, but failed to include them as respondents in the petition.
The Governor was accused of election fraud, and Justice Ugoh ruled that his absence from the petition was fatal because he was not given the opportunity to defend himself as required by law.
The Tribunal rejected the petitioner’s claims that there was excessive voting throughout Nigeria, noting that such claims are illegal since they fail to identify the exact locations where the alleged excessive voting occurred.
Atiku’s petition was also criticized for introducing a number of facts and charges in a way that was illegal and caught the respondents off guard. It was further stated that the approach used was unfair and that Atiku was only partially clever.
Allegations of criminal conviction, certificate forgery, and dual citizenship of Guinea established against Tinubu outside the manner of filing petition were among the offensive new facts allegedly unjustly introduced by Atiku.
Several documents submitted by Atiku were thrown out by Justice Stephen Jonah Adah, who read another ruling on objections to the petition, on the grounds that the exhibits were created while the petition was still pending.
Additionally, the testimony of a number of important Atiku witnesses was omitted from the court file because it was provided in a way that was illegal.
The Tribunal determined that certain petition paragraphs should be struck out for lack of merit because of the improper construction method used by the PDP presidential candidate.