Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the appeal filed by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party against the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 general election.
Atiku and his party had filed a 66-ground of appeal before the apex court, challenging the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, which affirmed Buhari’s election, saying he (Buhari) was not only qualified, but eminently qualified to contest the post of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the said election.
They are challenging the judgment of the presidential election tribunal, which affirmed the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In dismising the appeal, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad, who other six justices of the apex court, said the appeal was lacking in merit.
Other members of the panel are Justices Bode Rhodes-Vivour, Olukayode Ariwoola, John Inyang Okoro, Aminu Sanusi, Ejembi Eko and Uwani Aba-Aji.
“Having gone through the appeal in the this past two weeks, we found the appeal lacking in merit, it is thereby dismiss,” said the CJN.
He said reasons will be adduced later on why the appeal was struck out
Atiku and PDP filed the appeal on five grounds.
They alleged that the panel of the presidential election tribunal erred in law “when they relied on ‘overall interest of justice’, to hold that the 2nd Respondent’s Exhibits R1 to R26, P85, and P86 were properly admitted in evidence.”
They also alleged among other reasons that the tribunal erred in law “when they held thus: “My firm view is that Section 76 of the Electoral Act is clearly inapplicable to the issues under consideration. The form referred to are the form to be used in the conduct of the election as FORM CF001 had been taken care of in Section 31 of the Electoral Act and the said FORM CF001 is tied to the steps laid down in the said Section 31 of the Electoral Act.
“More importantly, the law is firmly settled that a candidate is not required by the Constitution or the Electoral Act to attach his certificates to FORM CF001 before the candidate can be considered or adjudged to have the requisite educational qualifications to contest the election.”
Atiku and PDP also alleged that the tribunal erred in law, when they held thus: “There was/is no pleadings in the Petition to the effect that 2nd Respondent’s failure to attach his certificates to Form CF001 amounts to lack of educational qualification to contest the election.
“In other words, the issue of failure to attach certificates which have been flogged throughout the length and breadth of the Petitioners Address (es) in Reply to 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents final written address is not the case of the Petitioner in the pleadings. No issue was joined on nonproduction of certificates or failure to attach them as an infraction of section 131, 137 and 138 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
“All submissions about the failure to produce certificates or attach same to CF001 is hereby discountenanced. Even if it can be said that the submissions made are in tandem with the Petitioners Pleadings on issues 1 and 2 the fact remains that none of the facts pleaded were proved or established as required by law.”
They asked the Supreme Court to set aside the judgment of the tribunal and grant the prayers sought by them.
In their final submission on Wednesday, Levi Uzuogwu, the lead counsel for Atiku and PDP, submitted that Buhari did not make any effort to tender his original cerficates, photocopies or certified copies in the course of trial.
He stated further that certificate cadet officer course he said attended was not also tendered in court too which made his academic qualifications speculative.
He insisted that a server existed which result of the election was stored.
“There is something curious about the case, the respondents are relying on Section (52(2) of Electoral Act to contend that electronic election is prohibited in this country.
” The provision they are relying on was deleted and amended in 2015 and replaced with another provision, ” Uzoukwu said.
Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission, Yunus Usman, said the appellant has woefully failed to prove that Atiku won the election. He said out of 119,000 polling units, Atiku called agents in five polling units, which makes his case worthless.
Chief Wole Olanipeku, who represented Buhari said there was no difference between ‘Mohammed and Muhammadu, saying this was affirmed by a witness at the trial of the case.