President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his victory at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal is victory for all Nigerians.
The tribunal on Wednesday upheld president Buhari’s re-election, saying that Atiku Abubakar and his party, PDP, failed to discharge the burden of proof of the allegation of non-qualification Buhari to contest the February 23 election.
“Good conscience fears no evil report. I was unperturbed all along, because I knew Nigerians freely gave us the mandate. We are now vindicated,” a statement issued by Buhari’s media aide read.
The Nigerian leader, while also commending the judiciary for “dispensing justice without fear or favour,” dedicated the victory to God, and to Nigerians
He also extended hand of fellowship to those who had felt aggrieved at the outcome of the election, and went to court, noting that it was within their democratic rights.
“It is time for the country to move forward as one cohesive body, putting behind us all bickering and potential distractions over an election in which Nigerians spoke clearly and resoundingly,” he added.
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 claimed that results from a purported INEC server showed that he scored 18,356,732 as against Buhari’s 16,741,430 votes.
They also claimed that Buhari was not academically qualified to run for the election.
The former vice president then told the tribunal to nullify Buhari’s election and declare him the authentic winner.
Delivering judgment, Justice Mohammed Garba, held that evidence before the court shows that Buhari obtained Cambridge West African Examination Council (WAEC).
Garba held that it has been 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.
His words, “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 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.”