Nigeria’s president-elect, Bola Tinubu, says Atiku Abubakar’s allegations of “corrupt practices” during the February 25 presidential election have no legal support.
In his preliminary objection to Atiku’s petition, Mr. Tinubu, who was the All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential flag bearer in the election, argued that “there is no indication of corrupt practices in the petition.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, declared Mr. Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), the winner of the March 1 presidential poll.
Atiku, who came second in the election, is challenging Mr. Tinubu’s victory through his petition, which he, along with his party, filed the Presidential Election Petition at the Tribunal.
The petitioners named INEC, Mr. Tinubu and the APC as respondents.
Citing widespread irregularities, corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provisions of the law during the election, the petitioners asked the electoral court to declare Atiku the president of Nigeria or order a fresh poll.
But Mr. Tinubu’s lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), in a preliminary objection filed against the petition, said the claim that Atiku and the PDP failed to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act was baseless.
“The request is incompetent and unsustainable, the important credentials mandated by the 2022 Electoral Act are completely starved.”
Responding to allegations of corrupt practices by INEC, Mr. Tinubu and the APC during the presidential election by Atiku and PDP, Mr. Tinubu said: “The facts alleged in support of the allegations of corrupt practice… are in line with the stated rationale.”
The petition only explains the non-compliance of INEC’s “guarantees”.
In his response to INEC’s failure to upload election results in real time from 176,974 polling stations in Nigeria to the election adjudicator’s electronic portal, Mr. Tinubu argued that INEC’s “guidelines” for conducting polls were not legal.
“The facts in support of the petition … do not disclose any incidence of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, but at best relate to the non-compliance with ‘guarantees’ unknown to the law.”
Ahead of the general elections, the electoral umpire heralded the use of bimodal voter verification system (BVAS) machines as a game changer that would boost the credibility of the country’s elections.
He promised to set BVAS machines to upload poll results to the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV) in real time on polling day, but denied “guarantees”, citing “issues” as the reason for not uploading. results in real time.
The President-elect added that his victory cannot be annulled because of “corrupt practices”.
“The petition may be struck out, as a complaint of non-compliance, when the petitioners have not made a request or an incident of non-compliance in respect of any of the electoral units that make up the constituency.”
In his petition, Atiku listed 12 alleged malpractices by INEC that helped Bola Tinubu win the polls.
Highlighting the alleged electoral irregularities, Atiku accused INEC of: suppression of votes, tampering with ballot boxes and ballot boxes, tampering with BVAS machines, tampering with accreditation and collection, tampering with the delivery of election materials.
It listed other violations including manipulation of election materials through reverse logistics, voter intimidation and harassment, mass fingerprinting of ballot papers, destruction of election materials, seizure of election materials, mutilation, cancellation and overwriting of result sheets. as well as inflation, score deflation and incorrect entries on result sheets.
Four other political parties are also challenging Mr. Tinubu’s victory on similar grounds.
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