Atiku Challenges Tinubu’s Victory in Court, Raises Five Grounds
Home News Politics Atiku Challenges Tinubu’s Victory in Court, Raises Five Grounds
Politics - March 22, 2023

Atiku Challenges Tinubu’s Victory in Court, Raises Five Grounds

Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party has asked the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja to declare him as Nigeria’s president-elect.

As a result of the alleged irregularities that marred the 25 February poll in thousands of polling units, Atiku urged the court to cancel the election and order a fresh election.

His team of senior lawyers led by Joe-Kyari Gadzama, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), filed the petition at the Presidential Election Petition Court on Tuesday, beating the 21-day statutory deadline set for filing such cases from when INEC announced the final results of the election since the beginning of 1 Mach. Atiku’s team of lawyers filed the petition around 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

The petition filed was due to the declaration of Mr Tinubu who polled 8,794,726, as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Mahmood Yakubu. The electoral body declared that Atiku came second after he polled a total of 6,984,520 votes, while Peter Obi of the Labour Party came third with a total of 6,101,533 votes, and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the NNPP came fourth with 1,496,687 votes.

The petition, jointly filed by Atiku and the PDP as co-petitioners, named INEC, Mr Tinubu and the APC as respondents.

Mr Obi, who is also challenging Mr Tinubu’s victory, had earlier filed his own petition at the court in Abuja similarly asking the court to declare him the winner or cancel the election or order a rerun.

Grounds of the petition

Atiku and the PDP laid four bases for the petition, saying Mr Tinubu’s election “is invalid by reason of noncompliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.”

He also argued that INEC compromised the outcome of the presidential poll by failing to  electronically transmit the election results in real-time.

He added Mr Tinubu ought not to have been declared or returned as the winner of the election that the alleged substantial non-compliance with the law affected the result of the election

Atiku further contended that INEC “wrongly returned” Mr Tinubu “as the winner of the election, allocating to him 8,794,726 votes while ascribing to him (Atiku) 6,984520 votes.”

He explained that contrary to Mr Yakubu’s repeated assurances prior to the  general elections to conduct the best election in Nigeria’s democratic history.  The electoral body failed to electronically transmit results in real-time from polling units to INEC’s electronic collation system and Results Viewing Portal (IReV) using the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machines.

In addition, the petitioners said INEC failed to comply with Section 66 of the Electoral Act which is incorporated with Section 134 of the Nigerian constitution. They argue that the law provides for “geographical spread” which must be met by the winner of the election.

Atiku equally argued his petition on the ground that the margin of lead – 1,810,206 votes – was less than the number of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) collected in “the polling units where elections were cancelled and did not hold across the country.

Also, Atiku said that INEC’s declaration of Mr Tinubu as the winner of the poll was “hasty, premature and wrongful.

The petitioners further accused INEC of manipulating votes as Electoral officials “suppressed” Atiku’s votes, crediting both Tinubu and Obi with the said stolen votes.

Mr Tinubu is also said not to have been elected by a majority of lawful votes cast at the poll.

The petitioners also said Mr Tinubu at the time of the election was not qualified to vie for the presidency.

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