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Make History, Nullify February 25 Presidential Election, Atiku Urges Tribunal.

Atiku Abubakar

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday, urged the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja to nullify the February 25 presidential election in which President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress was declared the winner.

Atiku’s lead counsel, Chris Uche (SAN), while presenting his final address, said the fact that no presidential election had been nullified in the past should not stop the tribunal from removing Tinubu.

He insisted that the glitches experienced in the transmission of results during the presidential poll were deliberate to allow manipulation and provided enough grounds for the court to nullify Tinubu’s election.

Uche also argued that Tinubu should be disqualified on the strength of the American court judgment in which his name featured in a forfeiture and money laundering case, involving $460,000.

Uche said with the facts presented before the court by the PDP and Atiku, the court should either remove Tinubu from office or order a rerun election.

But the APC counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), argued that there was no documentary or oral testimony before the court to support the reliefs being sought by the PDP and Atiku.

Fagbemi insisted the American forfeiture lawsuit referenced by the petitioners was civil rather than criminal in nature, and could, therefore, not be grounds to disqualify Tinubu.

He added that the questions on whether Tinubu went to Chicago University, US, had been laid to rest.

“The forfeiture proceedings do not fit into the prescription of qualification. It is not a disqualifying factor. No evidence of arraignment or pleadings. It was a civil forfeiture proceeding,” Fagbemi said.

He also argued that the matter of the forfeiture happened 20 years ago.

He also said a clear bill of health had been given by the United States of America.

On the relief on dual citizenship of the President, Fagbemi, citing section 137 (1a), argued that a citizen by birth cannot be disqualified because he has citizenship of another country.

On his part, Tinubu’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the petition by the PDP and Atiku for lacking in merit, describing the petitioners as meddlesome interlopers.

Olanipekun maintained that not winning 25 per cent of votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja was not a reason to nullify Tinubu’s election.

He argued that the FCT had no special status but only be regarded as the 37th state of the federation.

INEC’s counsel, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), said evidence adduced by the petitioners themselves showed the good intentions of INEC to conduct a credible election with the adoption of technology.

He said the petition failed woefully to establish that the glitches in IReV were caused by human interference and that it affected the outcome of the election.

He said, “On the transmission, we are not in disagreement that there was a glitch. Where we differ is the source of the glitch.

“They failed woefully to establish that the glitch on IReV was caused by human interference and that it affected the outcome of the election, “ Mahmoud said.

He described as absurd, the argument that winning 25 per cent of votes in the FCT was a requirement for winning the presidential election.

The Justice Simon Tsammani-led five-member court, however, reserved judgment on the petition, after parties adopted their final written addresses.

Justice Tsammani said the judgment date would be communicated to all the parties involved.

The tribunal similarly reserved judgment in the petition filed by the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, also challenging Tinubu’s victory.

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