President-elect, Bola Tinubu, has asked the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to dismiss the case brought by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar against his victory in the February 25 poll.
He described the request made by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a “gross abuse of judicial process” and that the court should not accept it.
Mr. Tinubu, the contested presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), made the call in his preliminary objection to Atiku’s petition through his legal team led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Wole Olanipekun.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Atiku and his party, PDP, are the 1st and 2nd applicants respectively in the case marked: CA/PEPC/05/2023.
They suit the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr. Tinubu and the APC respectively from the first to the third respondents.
The petitioners are demanding the annulment of the February 25 presidential poll.
Mr. Tinubu, according to the INEC statement, defeated 17 other candidates after polling 8,794,726 votes.
NAN reports that the former vice president came second with 6,984,520 votes, while Peter Obi of the Labor Party (LP) came third with 6,101,533 votes.
However, Atiku and the PDP are urging the court to set aside Mr. Tinubu’s victory and declare Atiku the winner of the election. Otherwise, they want an order for INEC to hold a fresh election, without the participation of the APC and its candidate.
Along with the presidential candidates, four other political parties have also submitted petitions against the election results.
Responding to Atiku’s petition, Mr. Tinubu argued that the entire petition was an abuse of court processes.
He said the petitioners, in another case pending before the Supreme Court, are also seeking the same prayers made in the instant petition.
The original February 28 summons was filed by six states controlled by the PDP (Petitioner 2) against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), INEC and others.
According to him, the Attorney Generals of Sokoto, Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Edo states are on the case.
“Most, if not all, of the issues presented for decision by the plaintiffs in the said original summons are repeated in the present application,” he said.
“Basically, the original call sought to set aside the presidential election scheduled for February 25, 2023.
“The plaintiffs attacked INEC for not complying with its Manual and Regulations in the conduct of the election and also alleged malpractices, which is the focus of their petition.
“While the original summons was filed on February 28, this petition was filed on March 21,” he argued.
Mr. Tinubu, who accused the petitioners of pursuing two processes on the same issue, asked the court to dismiss the petition.
He said the grounds of the petition were incompetent, so the court had no jurisdiction to hear them.
He argued that although the petitioners alleged that his election was invalid for non-compliance with the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act, they failed to disclose the facts of non-compliance with the law.
He said that although the petitioners complained about the outcome of the election, in 10 states including Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Kano, Plateau and Lagos, none of the listed states was declared the overall winner. .
According to him, Mr. Peter Obi of the Labor Party was declared the overall winner of the election in Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Plateau and Lagos states while Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party was declared. Kano State election winner.
Mr. Tinubu argued that none of these persons and their parties were joined as parties in the petition.
He said he could not defend any alleged wrongdoing in any of those states.
Therefore, he argued that the petition was poorly formed and begged the court to dismiss it.
Mr. Tinubu said Atiku could not win the poll because he was a serial election loser.
“The first petitioner (Abubakar) has been continuously contesting and losing presidential elections in Nigeria since 1993, either in party primaries or general elections,” he said.
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The President-elect recalled that in 1993, Atiku lost the primary election of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) against the late MKO Abiola.
He said that “in 2007, he lost the presidential election against the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.”
He said that in 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan lost the PDP presidential primary election and in 2015, the APC primary election was lost by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr. Tinubu said that in 2019, Atiku lost the presidential election to Mr. Buhari; and now in 2023, he lost the presidential election.
According to the President-elect, it is neither surprising nor coincidental that the electorate rejected Petitioner 1 in the presidential election ballot held on February 25.
He told the court that he was ready to prove that numerous states controlled by the PDP and its governors protested the emergence of Atiku as the party’s candidate and vowed never to support his candidacy.
He said he would “lead evidence to show that the 1st petitioner could not even campaign or canvass for the polls in some states controlled by the 2nd petitioner including Rivers and Oyo states where the 2nd respondent (Tinubu) defeated the 1st petitioner (Atiku). ) by a large margin”.
Mr. Tinubu, who said the former vice president lost the election, was not entitled to be declared the winner under Nigerian laws, asking the court to dismiss the petition for lack of merit, substance and insincerity.
He described it as “frivolous, disgusting, very ill-conceived and publicizing it for no reasonable reason”.
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