BREAKING: Buhari scores victory over Atiku at tribunal

Atiku and the PDP are challenging Buhari's election triumph.

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The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Monday granted leave to President Muhammadu Buhari to amend his reply to the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

The development comes on the same day the tribunal blocked Atiku and the PDP from gaining access to INEC server.

Atiku and PDP had filed their petition to challenge the victory of Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress, on February 23, 2019 poll.

The five-man tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba reserved rulings in the case on Monday and granted permission to Buhari to amend his reply to the petition.

Atiku and PDP, had through their lawyer, Dr. Livy Ozoukwu (SAN), filed on May 9, a preliminary objection urging the tribunal to strike out Buhari’s reply on the grounds that the address of service of the lawyers who filed the reply was not supplied in the reply as mandatorily provided for in the Electoral Act.

But Buhari, through his lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), on May 14, filed a motion seeking the amendment of his reply to the petition to correct the omission pointed out by the petitioners.

The motion was opposed by the petitioners.

But in its unanimous ruling on Monday, the five-man panel of the tribunal granted the application by Buhari.

The tribunal held that the amendment sought by Buhari would not change the substance of the reply and it would not constitute an injustice or prejudice against the petitioners.

It then ordered Buhari to file an amended reply reflecting the correction sought within three days.

But the tribunal said it would only deliver its ruling on the petitioners’ preliminary objection challenging the competence of the reply along with the final judgment in the case.

This, Justice Garba said was in line with the provision of section 285(8) of the Constitution since the preliminary objection prayed that the alleged incompetence of the reply had robbed the tribunal of its jurisdiction to hear the reply.

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