The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has reserved judgment in the suit filed by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party challenging the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
A five-man panel of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal headed by Justice Mohammed Garba reserved judgment to a date to be communicated to all the parties involved in the petition.
Dr Levi Uzoukwu, who led the petitioners’ legal team insisted in his final written address that President Buhari’s claim that he submitted his certificates to the Military Board has been controverted by the Secretary to the Military Board.
Lawyers to INEC, President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, however, urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost for lacking in merit and substance. They argued that the nation’s law only requires a candidate to be educated up to secondary school level or its equivalent.
Dr. Uzoukwu told the court that the 2nd Respondent (Mohammadu Buhari) and his party both failed to provide evidence (certificates) even in their final written addresses.
He said witnesses provided by the 2nd Respondent (Muhammadu Buhari) himself further compounded his case when one General Tarfa told the Court on oath that it was not the duty of the military to collect credentials of military officers for save-keeping
He went further to the tell the court that the variations in the names in most of the documents submitted by the 2nd Respondent also speaks volumes.
That in some documents, it reads Mohamed Buhari and in another it’s Muhammadu Buhari and even in the scores.
In the same exams, in some documents, he claimed to have 8 subjects and in another 6 subjects.
During the adoption of the written addresses, counsel to the APC, Chief Fagbemi had announced to the court that his client had filed additional authorities citing the ruling of the Supreme Court on Tuesday August 20, 2019.
The PDP lead counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, challenged the eligibility and admissibility of the new authorities filed by the APC since the time for such documents are over and the final written addresses by all the parties had been submitted.
The trial Judge, Justice Mohammed Garba informed him that the court will look into the admissibility of the new authorities from the APC but that the PDP and Atiku/Obi should look into the documents since they have been served and respond accordingly.
Also in adopting their address, the petitioners emphasized on the non qualification of the 2nd Respondent (Muhammadu Buhari), in the February 23, 2019.
Dr. Uzoukwu reminded the court that one of the grounds of petition in an election in both the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria and the electoral act 2010 as amended, submitting false information of a fundamental nature is grievous and that the matter should not be trivialized.
Dr. Uzoukwu reminded the court that if and only if the educational certificates of the 2nd Respondent exist or is with the military as he claimed, as the commander in chief of the armed forces, he can order the military to provide all these documents to the court.
He submitted that on that note, the 2nd Respondent does not have any certificate, both in electronic, photocopy, photograph etc.
That there was no defense from all the respondents and urged the court to grant the relief of the PDP and Atiku/Obi that the 2nd Respondent was not qualified ab initio to contest the February 23, 2019 Presidential Election and that the former Vice President and Candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar should be declared as winner of the election.
He also reminded the court that the 2nd Respondent relied on the electoral act of 2010 in most of its authorities and abandoned the march 2015 amendments of the electoral act by the former president, Dr. Jonathan. He told the court that in the new amendments to the electoral act, voting was supposed to be determined by the INEC and the guidelines of INEC for the 2019 General Elections also was very clear on this.