The Presidential Election Tribunal has given former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party victory in a ruling on a motion filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
In the motion, INEC had sought the dismissal of Atiku and PDP’s petitions because they failed to join the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, in their petitions against President Buhari and the electoral umpire.
The motion was filed on 5 May.
However, chairman of the tribunal, Justice Garba Mohammed, reading the verdict said the vice president would have been superfluous in the petition.
The court held that the vice president is not a necessary party in an election petition, saying as an appendage to the candidate, he rises and falls with the candidate
INEC in its motion had argued: that the vice president is an indispensable party to the petition and that his fair hearing would be breached should a decision be reached without his input.
That Section 137 (2) of the Electoral Act makes Mr Osinbajo a vital part of the petition and that if not followed, the petition would be invalidated.
Atiku and PDP also trounced INEC over its motion asking the court to strike out the petitioners’ witnesses and documents, on the allegation that the person who signed the petition is not a lawyer.
INEC also called for the dismissal of other prayers of PDP. It includes the allegation of result manipulation, saying it was vague.
The tribunal ruled that the PDP lead counsel, Levi Uzoukwu’s name misspelt and that he is a legal practitioner called to the Nigerian Bar in 1982.
“I have noted the clauses and it is glaring that there is a seal of the NBA on the application. The name is Livinus Uzoukwu showing that the seal is valid.”
The tribunal further ruled that Atiku and PDP were in order in filing a petition on the alleged non-qualification of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Court ruled that Section 138 (1) (a) of the Electoral Act allows for the filing of the petition relating to the allegation of false information and therefore the tribunal was well within its powers to entertain the application and determine the details contained in the petition.