Presidential Tribunal Dismisses Petition Against Buhari, APC, INEC
Buhari was declared winner of the Nigerian presidential election in 2019 (image courtesy: State House)

The petition by the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and its candidate, Ambrose Owuru against the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the last presidential election has been dismissed by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT).

The five-man penal of the tribunal in a ruling on Thursday upheld the preliminary objection filed by Buhari (listed as the first respondent) against the competence of the petition.

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The tribunal held that not only did it lack jurisdiction to hear the petition, because it talked about referendum, the prayers in the petition are similar to what the petitioners sought in their pending cases before the Federal High Court on the same issues.

Justice Mohammed Garba, who read the lead judgment, held that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the petition and that it constitutes an abuse of court process.

He proceeded to dismiss it, and other members of the panel agreed with that decision.

The ground which the petitioners had sought to be pronounced the winners of the election was that they won a referendum, which they claimed was conducted when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the conduct of the presidential election.

In another ruling, the tribunal also refused the preliminary objection filed by the 2nd respondent, (INEC) against the competence of the petition.

INEC had claimed that the petitioners did not comply with the requirement of the law in issuing the requisite pre-hearing notice in the petition.

The 2nd respondent INEC, had declared President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of last Saturday’s Presidential election in the country which took place on February 23, 2019.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, who declared the results had said that Buhari polled 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who polled 11,262,978 votes.

Atiku is also challenging Buhari’s victory at the tribunal.

But on Wednesday, the tribunal reserved judgment in the petition filed by Atiku and his party the Peoples Democratic Party.

The five-man panel of the tribunal, led by Mohammed Garba, said judgment would be delivered on a date to be communicated to the parties.