President Muhammadu Buhari has described the petition by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, as the most worthless in election litigation history.
The President thus urged the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) to dismiss the petition for lack of merit.
But the PDP candidate insists that the President is unqualified to contest the election. He urged the tribunal to quash his victory.
These are the highlights in the final written addresses submitted to the court, which they are expected to adopt on August 21 when the court will hear final submissions from parties to the petition by Atiku and the PDP, challenging the outcome of the last presidential election.
In a leaked report by The Nation, Buhari and the APC argued that not only are the reliefs sought by the petitioners “ungrantable and meaningless”, they (Atiku and the PDP) failed woefully to prove the allegations as contained in their petition.
Buhari and the APC, after analysing the evidence by witnesses called by the petitioners, argued that in their attempt to establish their allegations, they dumped documents on the court in the name of tendering documentary evidence.
They said: “It is submitted with every force that in the annals of election petition proceedings in Nigeria, this particular petition has been the most starved in terms of evidence, whether oral or documentary.
The petitioners also woefully failed to appreciate that this court does not wrought miracles, but decides cases according to law, and not based on sentiments.
“Whereas, the petitioners are challenging results of election in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and have pleaded in paragraph 107 of their petition that there were 119,973 polling units in the country, they called only five polling unit agents to give evidence, i.e PW5 of Mai Angwa Yclwa 008 Polling Unit of Jigawa State; PW6 of Farin Dutse 001 Polling Unit of Jigawa State; PW12 of Polling Unit 009 of Nasarawa “B” Ward of Niger State; PW46 of Unit 009, Karu Ward of Nasarawa State, and PW49 of Unit 1, Morowa of Nasarawa State.
“Apart from the fact that these witnesses made no impression on the petitioners’ case, a pertinent question arises, to wit, what happens to the remaining witnesses in respect of the outstanding 119, 968 polling units in the country?
Respondent submits that the petitioners are not in the least bit, serious at ventilating any grievance against the presidential election of 23rd February, 2019 before this honourable court. From the presentation of the petition, through to the calling of witnesses, the petitioners would appear to be very unsure and unsteady as to what they want precisely.
“This is not surprising as the entirety of the petition is based on assumptions, speculations and conjectures. The petition itself is based on conflicting and irreconcilable grounds, the last two of which glibly suggest that the 2nd respondent (Buhari) was not qualified to contest the election under reference.
“As against the grounds, the evidence given, both oral and the dumped documentary, suggests something different; the five reliefs sought are not any shade better than the grounds, but they vividly bring to the fore the confusion enveloping the entire petition.”
The Atiku team, in the submission filed on Wednesday anchored its case on Buhari’s alleged non-qualification the 23 February election.
The lawyers therefore submitted that Buhari should should be disqualified by the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.
In the 43-page final address by lead counsel and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dr Levy Uzoukwu, Atiku and PDP claimed to have established the fact that Buhari does not possess the requisite academic qualification for the position of President of Nigeria.
The petitioners said even President Buhari’s own witnesses, under cross-examination, admitted to the fact that Buhari does not possess a school certificate, being the basic requirements for contesting for the office of the president.
“We, therefore, submit that all the purported evidence led by the second respondent (Buhari) to prove that he attended a secondary school or a primary school, or that he attended some courses, is irrelevant because he did not rely on any of those purported qualifications in exhibit P1; he relied on primary school certificate, WASC and Officer Cadet,” the petitioners said.
“Equally futile is his attempt to prove that he can speak and write in the English language. That is all irrelevant to his inability to produce his primary school certificate, secondary school certificate or WASC and his Officer Cadet qualification, whatever that means. Officer Cadet is not a qualification or certificate under the Constitution and Electoral Act; nor is it known to any law.”
Besides, the petitioners in their final address to the Tribunal insisted that they have proved all allegations contained in their petition against the conduct of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The addresses would be presented to the court on 21 August.