The clash of the Titans and all out war for Aso Rock continues without any sign of abating, a battle where the winner takes all, so expectedly, everything is being thrown into the battle of the presidential candidates.
New details emanating from the scene of political battle indicates that the aggrieved opposition party PDP and it’s presidential candidate Atiku have filed a petition against the ruling APC’s victory at the February 23 presidential election, some details of the petition which was filed on Monday emerged yesterday (Tuesday), contents of which sought to rely on sets of documents available to the opposition PDP.
In the 139 page petition, the opposition party and presidential candidate Atiku, declared that, “from the data in the 1st respondent’s (INEC’s) server…the true, actual and correct results” emanating from the sum collation of “state to state computation” indicates that Atiku polled a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari who scored 16,741,430 votes
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This petition which was filed before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja against the Independent National Electoral Commission, has Buhari and the APC as the second and third respondents, respectively.
According to the petition, the stated result does not include those from Rivers state as at February 25th, 2019 INEC server time, they were results from 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
One of the five grounds of the petition also tends to resuscitate the allegation that Buhari was not qualified to run for the office of the President on the grounds that he did not possess the constitutional minimum qualification of a school certificate.
The petition which is five pronged reads
- “The 2nd respondent (Buhari) was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast at the election.
- “The election of the 2nd respondent is invalid by reason of corrupt practices.
- “The election of the 2nd Respondent is invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
- “The 2nd respondent was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the said election.
- “The 2nd respondent submitted to the 1st Respondent an affidavit containing false information of a fundamental nature in aid of his qualification for the said election.”
In their argument, the petitioner argued that the 2nd respondent (Buhari) was not qualified to run for the office of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, because he did not possess the educational qualification to contest the election to the office of the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In the petition, Section 31 subsection 1 & 2 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), are referenced, according to subsection 1 of the electoral act, “every political party shall not later than 60 days before the date appointed for a general election submit to the Commission in the prescribed form the list of the candidates the party proposes to sponsor at the elections.”
While subsection 2 states that “the list or information submitted by each candidate shall be accompanied by an affidavit sworn to by the candidate at the Federal High Court, High Court of a State or Federal Capital Territory indicating that he has fulfilled all the constitutional requirements for election into that office.”
Their argument is thus that the 2nd respondent’s Form CF001 that was submitted to the 1st Respondent, was declared before the Commissioner for Oaths at the Registry of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja only on the 8th day of October, 2018. The said Form CF001 is accompanied by an Acknowledgement an indication that the 1st Respondent received same, then it was also accompanied by the Curriculum Vitae of the 2nd Respondent as well as GENERAL FORM OF AFFIDAVIT duly sworn to by the 2nd respondent at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, along with copies of his Membership Card of the 3rd Respondent and Voter Card.
Therefore; according to the petition, “The information submitted to the 1st respondent (INEC) by the 2nd respondent (Buhari) is false and of a fundamental nature in aid of his education qualification, notwithstanding that he had declared in the said sworn affidavit as follows: ‘I hereby declare that all the answers, facts and particulars I have given in this Form, are true and correct and I have to the best of my knowledge, fulfilled all the requirements for qualifications for the office I am seeking to be elected’.”
The petition further stated that the educational institutions Buhari “claimed to have attended and the certificates presented by him namely, Elementary School Daura and Mai Aduaa between 1948 and 1952, Middle School Katsina between 1953 and 1956 and Katsina Provincial College (now Government College, Katsina) between 1956 to 1961 and mentioned by the 2nd respondent in his curriculum vitae attached to Form CF 001, were not in existence as of those mentioned dates.”
“The 2nd respondent in Form CF 001 filled and submitted by him to the 1st Respondent at Paragraph C, Column 2, Page 3, under SECONDARY, wrote “WASC,” thereby falsely claiming that qualification whereas there was no qualification known as WASC as of 1961.
“The petitioners contend that the 2nd Respondent was, at the material time, not qualified to contest election for the exalted office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The petitioners further aver that all votes purportedly cast for the 2nd and 3rd Respondents on 23rd February, 2019 during the Presidential Election and as subsequently declared by the 1st Respondent on February 27, 2019 are wasted votes in that the 2nd Respondent was not qualified to contest the said election in the first place or at all.”
The petition contained names of 21 Senior Advocates of Nigeria and 18 other lawyers. The legal team is led by Mr Livy Uzoukwu (SAN).
The petition is also asking that the tribunal should determine that Buhari
“was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast in the said election” and therefore his declaration and return by INEC “as the President of Nigeria is unlawful, undue, null, void and of no effect”.
The petitioners also prayed that the tribunal declare Atiku President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria since he had been “duly and validly elected” after polling the highest number of lawful votes cast at the election to the office of the President of Nigeria held on February 23, 2019 and having satisfied the constitutional requirements for the said election.
They therefore sought “an order directing the 1st respondent (INEC) to issue a Certificate of Return to the 1st petitioner (Atiku) as the duly elected President of Nigeria” or alternatively, “that the election to the office of the President of Nigeria held on February 23, 2019 be nullified and a fresh election ordered.”