The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal is set to deliver judgment on the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 election.
Spokesperson for the Court of Appeal, Sa’adatu Musa, said on Tuesday that the hearing notice for the judgment had been served on lawyers representing the parties to the case.
Nigeria’s electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had announced President Buhari as winner with 15,191,847 votes with Atiku getting 11, 262,978.
But Atiku and the PDP, this news medium understands, have claimed that results from a purported INEC server showed that he scored 18,356,732 as against Buhari’s 16,741,430 votes.
Rejecting the results declared by INEC, Atiku had said: “The suppressed votes in my strongholds are so apparent and amateurish, that I am ashamed as a Nigerian that such could be allowed to happen. How can total votes in Akwa-Ibom, for instance, be 50 per cent less than what they were in 2015?
“Another glaring anomaly is the disruption of voting in strongholds of the PDP in Lagos, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers and diverse other states, with the authorities doing little or nothing and in some cases facilitating these unfortunate situations.”
He also said: “I am a democrat and there are democratic avenues available to present the truth to the nation and the watching world. Already, many international observers have given their verdicts, which corroborate our observations.
“I am sure more will come in the coming hours and days.
“If I had lost in a free and fair election, I would have called the victor within seconds of my being aware of his victory to offer not just my congratulations, but my services to help unite Nigeria by being a bridge between the North and the South.
“However, in my democratic struggles for the past three decades, I have never seen our democracy so debased as it was on Saturday, Feb. 23.
“Year 2007 was a challenge, but President Yar’Adua was remorseful. In 2019, it is sad to see those who trampled on democracy thumping their noses down on the Nigerian people.
“Consequently, I hereby reject the result of the Feb. 23, 2019 sham election and will be challenging it in court.”
To this end, the petitioners asked the five-man tribunal, led by Justice Mohammed Garba, to nullify Buhari’s victory at the poll and either declare them the winner or order INEC to conduct a rerun.
INEC, APC react
INEC denied Atiku and PDP’s claim, saying that it did not transmit results electronically; and President Buhari and his party had asked the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to strike out the petition for being fundamentally defective.
The party described Atiku’s demand as a “wild goose chase prayer.”
The APC lawyers argued that it was public knowledge that the February 23 general election was conducted with the Electoral Act of 2010 as amended.
“Moreover, the laws in Nigeria do not recognise but actually prohibit transmission of results electronically,” they argued at the tribunal.
“Sections 52 and 78 of the Electoral Act 2010 have categorically addressed the issue.
“The only means of transmitting election results under the law are through Forms EC8 series. Form EC8A conveys results from Polling Units.
“It is only through these approved forms that election results can be challenged or proven and not through server, imaginary or real.”
Meanwhile, the country awaits the ruling of the Justice Garba-led tribunal on Wednesday in Abuja.
Final result table for 2019 presidential election