Presidential poll: PDP hits judges as tribunal throws out Atiku’s petition

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The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the February 23, 2019 election. The five-man bench led by Justice Mohammed Garba unanimously dismissed the case for lacking in merit after resolving all the five issues raised in the case against the petitioners.

Justice Garba, who read the lead judgment, resolved all the five broad issues raised by the petitioners in favour of the respondents.He held that none of the grounds on which the petition was anchored was proved. Comparing the evidence led by the petitioners to the quantum of their allegations, Justice Garba said, “It is like a drop in the ocean”. He ruled, “In the final result, I have come to the conclusion, which is inevitable and unavoidable, that the petitioners have not discharged the burden of proof required of any of the grounds of the petition in paragraph 15 of the petition.

This petition is accordingly and hereby dismissed in its entirety.” The tribunal held, among others, that contrary to the contention of the petitioners, Buhari had the educational qualification to contest the presidential election. It held that the petitioners failed to provide any proof that Buhari did not attend the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina and obtained his West African School Certificate from there in 1961. “It is established that a candidate is not required under the Electoral Act to attach his certificate to Form CF001 before the candidate is adjudged to have the requisite qualification to contest the election,” Justice Garba said.

Citing a previous Supreme Court judgment, the tribunal said, “Submission of educational certificate is not a requirement to contest election.

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