PEPT: Buhari, INEC panic, accused Atiku and PDP of ambush

Counsels to Buhari and INEC were left in shock after PDP tendered documents in court.

Friday, July 5, 2019

/ by National Pivot
Atiku tenders documents in court as he seeks for justice in the February 23 elections.
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) case between PDP’s presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and president Mohammadu Buhari of the ruling party APC, is making progress albeit with some mild drama as the PDP opened their case yesterday against the outcome of the February 23 election.

As proceedings commenced at the Tribunal on Thursday in Abuja, it appeared the PDP and Atiku had a new lead counsel in the person of Ben Nwabueze (SAN), a renowned constitutional lawyer and Professor of Law.

Nwabueze who announced himself as the lead counsel for the petitioners in the case while on a wheelchair, urged the tribunal in his address, to ensure justice is done in the matter, as Nigerians are interested in the outcome of the hearing.

Following his address to the panel, the petitioners tendered documents showing election results from polling units, wards and local governments. They also tendered volumes of documents during the commencement of hearing into their petition challenging the declaration of Buhari as winner of the election as reported by THISDAY.

However, prior to introducing the petition by Uzoukwu, counsels to the respondents raised observations, with Igbokwe who serves as counsel to one of the defendants, expressing surprise that documents from four states instead of the two in the schedule were tendered and urged the tribunal to suspend trial until the scheduled documents were exchanged and served.

Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Yunus Usman (SAN), similarly described the action of the petitioners as a serious ambush and prayed the tribunal to order parties to iron out the documents to be considered. But they're both having non of it as the tribunal refused to adjourned proceedings as prayed by the respondents because the request was 'unmeritorious'.

Justice Garba held that INEC, Buhari and the APC could not feign ignorance of the documents as they were pleaded when the petition was filed in March.

The petitioners had brought before the tribunal, boxes of electoral materials from four states in which they intend to lead evidence. The states include Niger, Yobe, Kebbi, Jigawa.

Following the decision of the panel, Ozoukwu sought to tender the documents brought as evidence, starting with Niger State.

But the respondents, one after the other, objected to the tendering of the documents.

They, however, deferred argument on their objection in line with the earlier agreement between parties and the court.

Former vice president Atiku Abubakar and the People's Democratic Party had claimed while collation of election result was still ongoing following the February 23 elections, that the results being declared by INEC at the collation center is inaccurate and that the party is in possession of copies of the original results as declared in every polling unit across the country. The party also vowed to challenge Buhari's victory in court to reclaimed what it considers a stolen mandate freely given to its presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, but which Buhari in collusion with INEC decided to subvert the will of the people.

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