Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the 2019 elections, Atiku Abubakar, should apologise to Nigerians for distracting the Buhari administration with an election petition.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this in a statement issued in St Petersburg, Russian Federation, on Thursday.

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Concise News had reported that the tribunal on Wednesday upheld president Muhammadu 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.

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.

”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.”

Speaking further, Mohammed said instead of appealing the ruling of Wednesday’s Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, the opposition party should be apologizing to Nigerians for trying to distract the present government.

The Minister said while the PDP and its candidate reserve the right to pursue their petition to the highest level, they will be better served by dropping their toga of desperation and realizing that there is a limit to tomfoolery.

”Nigerians are tired of this orchestrated distraction, and will rather wish that the opposition, having lost at the polls and in court, will now join hands with the government to move Nigeria to the next level.

”This is more so that the judgement validating the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari was unanimous that the petition lacked merit, that the petitioners failed to prove any of the grounds upon which their case was anchored and that President Buhari is eminently qualified to contest the poll,” he said.

Mohammed said instead of casting aspersion on the judiciary with their poorly-framed reaction to the ruling of the Tribunal, the PDP and its candidate should be thanking their stars that they are not being prosecuted for coming to court with a shred of fraudulently-obtained evidence.

”It is intriguing that a party that trumpets the rule of law at every turn will present, in open court, evidence it claimed to have obtained by hacking into a supposed INEC server. Don’t they realize this is a criminal act for which they are liable? Instead of threatening to head to the Supreme Court, driven more by ego than commonsense, they should be sorry for allowing desperation to overwhelm their sense of reasoning. Enough is enough,” he said.

The Minister commended the Tribunal for not only doing justice to the case but for explaining, in painstaking details that lasted hours, how it arrived at its judgement.

”We also thank Nigerians, who voted massively to re-elect President Buhari, for their continued support,” he said.