President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC), had yesterday (August 18), told the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal to disregard the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging the credibility of the February 23 general election.
The request was the top of the list in the final addresses of both Buhari and the APC, which will be adopted on August 23.
According to the respondents, the plea by Atiku to the tribunal to remove Buhari from office and make him (Abubakar) President, was a “wild goose chase prayer.’’
Buhari and the APC alleged that the PDP was represented during the February 23 polls by a candidate who was not a Nigerian by birth, adding that such was an adventure that breaches the provision of the constitution.
The President and his party, therefore, prayed the tribunal to invoke Section 131 (a) of the constitution to dismiss the petition.
According to Buhari and the APC, Atiku was born on November 25, 1946, in Jada, a former Adamawa Province of Northern Cameroon before a plebiscite was conducted in 1961 that now made the enclave part of Nigeria.
The parties, therefore, alleged that Abubakar was not qualified to enter the contest as the constitution forbade him from canvassing for votes to become president.
“We pray that the tribunal will see this constitutional reason and go ahead to uphold the election of the second respondent (Buhari) forthwith,’’ they prayed.
On evidence admitted from the petitions, the two respondents said they were empty as none had substantially proven series of the allegations made against the conduct of the election.
According to them, none of the 75 witnesses and 31, 287 exhibits which included 48 video clips proved any of the petitioners’ allegations.
They said the petitioners had tried to mislead the tribunal and public that results from the election were transmitted electronically to a central server managed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The respondents noted that it was public knowledge that the February 23 general elections were conducted with the Electoral Act of 2010 as amended.
However, the five-man Tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba withheld from treating the application until the parties adopt their final addresses on August 21, 2019.