Atiku vs Buhari: Supreme court fixes date to hear appeal
The Supreme Court of Nigeria has fixed Wednesday, October 30, 2019, to hear the Appeal of the PDP and Atiku/Obi, arising from the judgment of the Appeal Court.
Channels Television earlier reported that Atiku and PDP had formally filed an appeal against the judgement of the presidential election petitions tribunal, at the Supreme Court.
The opposition party is challenging the judgment of the presidential election tribunal, which affirmed the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In the appeal filed by Atiku and PDP, the opposition alleged that the panel of the presidential election tribunal erred in law “when they relied on “overall interest of justice” to hold that the second Respondent’s (President Muhammadu Buhari) exhibits R1 to R26, P85, and P86 were properly admitted in evidence.”
They also alleged among other reasons that the tribunal erred in law “when they held thus: “My firm view is that Section 76 of the Electoral Act is clearly inapplicable to the issues under consideration.
“The form referred to are the form to be used in the conduct of the election as FORM CF001 had been taken care of in Section 31 of the Electoral Act and the said FORM CF001 is tied to the steps laid down in the said Section 31 of the Electoral Act.
“More importantly, the law is firmly settled that a candidate is not required by the Constitution or the Electoral Act to attach his certificates to FORM CF001 before the candidate can be considered or adjudged to have the requisite educational qualifications to contest the election.”
They also alleged that the tribunal erred in law when they held thus: “There was/is no pleadings in the Petition to the effect that 2nd Respondents failure to attach his certificates to Form CF001 amounts to lack of educational qualification to contest the election.
“In other words, the issue of failure to attach certificates which have been flogged throughout the length and breadth of the Petitioners Address (es) in Reply to 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents final written address is not the case of the Petitioner in the pleadings. No issue was joined on non production of certificates or failure to attach them as an infraction of section 131, 137 and 138 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended”.
“All submission about the failure to produce certificates or attach same to CF001 is hereby discountenanced. Even if it can be said that the submissions made are in tandem with the Petitioners Pleadings on issues 1 and 2 the fact remains that none of the facts pleaded were proved or established as required by law.”
According to them, they pleaded and proved the allegation that President Buhari gave false information of a fundamental nature to INEC in aid of his qualification.
They further stated that they also pleaded that the Nigerian Military denied that it held or was in possession of the President’s certificates. And that the failure of the president to produce his Certificates or attach same to Form CF001 in the face of unequivocal denial by the Army that his Certificates were not with them went to the root of the allegation against him that he gave false information of a fundamental nature to INEC in aid of his qualification.
Atiku and his party therefore asked the Supreme Court to set aside the judgment of the tribunal and grant the prayers sought by them.
Time line Of Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal
The proceedings of the Presidential Petition tribunal commenced on 18th of March 2019 when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar filed the petition challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23, election.
On May 8th, the tribunal commenced inaugural sitting and it was chaired by the President of the Appeal Court, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa.
The tribunal was however delayed for another three weeks following the withdrawal of Justice Bulkachuwa as chairman of the tribunal.
On June 10, 2019, the pre-trial started and ended on July 3rd under the chairmanship of justice Mohammed garba who took over from justice Bulkachuwa.
The main petition was heard between July 4th and August 1.
Parties in the tribunal adopted their final written addresses on August 21.
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.