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Why I refuse to accept tribunal verdict – Atiku

Why I refuse to accept tribunal verdict – Atiku

By Faith Awa Maji 

The former Vice President of Nigeria (1999 – 2007) and 2023 main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar has rejected the verdict delivered yesterday by the Presidential Election Tribunal in Abuja that favoured President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Faith Maji’s Blog; through Atiku Abubakar’s verified Twitter handle obtained the release on why he rejected the judgement as it reads:

“PROTOCOL

Good afternoon, Gentlemen of the Press.

I am here today to give my official reaction to the judgment delivered yesterday by the Presidential Election Petition Court on the 2023 presidential election.

As you already know, I approached the court following the declaration by INEC that the APC and its candidate are the winners of the February 25, Presidential Election.

My decision to go to court is anchored in my belief that the court is the sanctuary of justice. The journey of my political career, as you know, holds so much to the courage and fearless decisions of our judiciary.

Indeed, I am no stranger to legal battles, and I can say that I have a fair idea of how the court system works. All through my career as a politician, I have been a fighter, and I must say that I have found the judiciary as a worthy pillar to rest on in the pursuit of justice.

The last presidential election in our country and the way it was managed by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, leaves behind unenviable precedents, which I believe the courts have a duty to redress. Our gains in ensuring transparent elections through the deployment of technology was heavily compromised by INEC in the way it managed the last presidential election, and I am afraid that the judgement of the court as rendered by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal yesterday, failed to restore confidence in our dreams of free and fair elections devoid of human manipulations.

Like I did say at the beginning of this legal battle when I instructed my lawyers to file my petition challenging the outcome of the presidential election, my ultimate goal in this pursuit is to ensure that democracy is further strengthened through the principles and processes of fair hearing.

Gentlemen of the press, I take great pains to tell you that the decision of the court of first instance on this matter utterly falls far short of that expectation. I am therefore here to tell you that, though the judgment of the court yesterday is respected, it is a judgment that I refuse to accept. I refuse to accept the judgment because I believe that it is bereft of substantial justice. However, the disappointment in the verdict of the court can never destroy my confidence in the judiciary.

Consequently, I have asked my lawyers to activate my constitutionally guaranteed rights of appeal to the higher court, which, in the instance, is the Supreme Court. It is my conviction that the electoral process in Nigeria should be devoid of untidy manipulations and that the outcome of every election should be a perfect reflection of the wishes of the electorate. I believe that such is the only way through which our democracy can have a manifest expression of its true meaning. Whether I prevail in this quest or not, the record of my effort in ensuring an order of credible elections in Nigeria shall remain for the future generations to evaluate. 

On this note, I urge all my supporters to remain steadfast. I urge them to take solace in an immortal lesson I learned from my leader and mentor, the late Shehu Yar’Adua, that losing a battle is less important than losing the war. We might have lost a battle yesterday, but the war is well ahead of us. And I believe that with our hopes in God, we shall win the war of restoring confidence in our electoral system.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the Press, I thank you for your attention.

Atiku Abubakar, GCON

Waziri Adamawa

Vice President of Nigeria (1999 – 2007)

2023 PDP Presidential Candidate.”

Recalled, the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP,) Abubakar Atiku on Wednesday suffered a major setback in his legal battle to unseat Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Nigeria’s elected President as the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal struck out several paragraphs of his petition relied upon to push Tinubu out of office.

Also several exhibits including witnesses statements he tendered to establish his allegations of irregularities, malpractices against the February 25 presidential election were rejected and discontenanced by the Tribunal.

Delivering ruling in some objections argued by Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN on behalf of Tinubu, Justice Moses Ugoh held that several parts of Atiku’s petition have no legs upon which they can stand and survive, hence, not competent.

Like the fate that befell his counterpart in the Labour Party’s Peter Obi, the Court said several facts fundermentally required to support the petition were not provided by Atiku.

Among others, Atiku was said to have failed and neglected to name places where ballot boxes were snatched, the ways and manners the BVAS machine were manipulated and names of polling boots where alleged malpractices took place.

The petitioner who claimed to have polled majority of lawful votes was said to have failed to state in clear terms, the total lawful votes he claimed to have scored.

The Court held that Atiku alleged that Tinubu did not score majority of lawful votes but refused to make the perceived lawful votes known in his petition to the Tribunal.

Similarly, the Tribunal said that the former Vice President made grievous allegations against Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello and Chairman of Olamaboro Local Government of Kogi, Friday Adejoh but neglected to join them as respondents in the petition.

Justice Ugoh held that failure to join the governor who was accused of electoral fraud was fatal to the petition because the governor was denied opportunity to defend himself as required by law.

The Tribunal dismissed the the allegations of over voting all over Nigeria by the petitioner adding that such pleadings run foul of the law because the specific places where the alleged over voting took place were not mentioned.

Atiku’s petition was also faulted on the ground that it introduced several facts and allegations in unlawful ways that caught the respondents unaware adding that the tactic employed was unfair and and made him clever by half.

Among the offending new facts said to have been wrongfully introduced by Atiku were the allegations of criminal conviction, certificate forgery, dual citizenship of Guinea made against Tinubu outside the mode of filing petition.

Justice Stephen Jonah Adah who read another ruling on objections against the petition expunged several documents tendered by Atiku on the ground that the exhibits were made during the pendency of the petition.

Also the evidence of several key witnesses of Atiku were expunged from the Court record having been made in manners not known to law.

The Tribunal held that the wrongful mode adopted by the PDP’s presidential candidate in the construction of the petition made several paragraphs of the petition iable for striking out for want of merit.

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