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September 20, 2019
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Judgment Day: Tight Security At Presidential Election Tribunal

Judgment Day: Tight Security At Presidential Election Tribunal

Judgment Day: Tight Security At Presidential Election Tribunal

Security was beefed up on Wednesday within the vicinity of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, venue of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

The tribunal is set to deliver judgment in the petition filed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the Feb. 23 general election.

Security personnel comprising mainly men of the Nigeria Police, the Department of State Services and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps mounted checks at both ends of the stretch of the road to the court.

Lawyers and journalists who arrived the court premises located in the Three Arms Zone, were subjected to checks by security personnel.

The tribunal on Aug.21 reserved judgment in the petition after parties adopted their addresses.

Justice Mohammed Garba, Chairman of the five-man panel of justices had stated that the judgment date would be communicated to parties.

Buhari was declared the winner of the election after scoring 15,191,847 votes as against Atiku’s 11, 262,978 votes.

While submitting his address, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Counsel for Buhari, had described the petition as a sham as it lacked substance and merit.

“I have handled a few electoral petition cases, this is one petition that yarns for help, for assistance and for evidence but could not get any.

“Apart from the hype the matter has generated, there is nothing in law to support the allegations before the tribunal, Olanipekun said.

On the qualification of the president, Olanipekun said Section 131 (b) had settled that matter.

“I make bold to say that the Constitution and case laws had not compelled the candidates of the election to tendered certificates or attached same to INEC form before submission.

“The laws only mandate any person contesting election in the country to have gone to school up to Secondary School level,’’ he said.

On the issue of election results transmission by electronic means, the counsel said the use of such technology must be provided for in the Electoral Act.

“The allegation on the management of server by INEC is vague. Where is the server? This is a million dollar question that the petitioners could not substantiate.

“My Lords, this petition was not properly diagnosed, the action was ill-advised, I therefore urge the tribunal not to bow to sentiment or public opinion that does not represent the law.

“This petition is liable to be dismissed with a considerable cost’’, Olanipekun said.

Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, Counsel for All Progressive Congress (APC) said he could not help but take the liberty to align himself with the submissions made Olanipekun.

“My Lords it is disheartening to see that this petition still remains watery at this stage.

“The petition made allegations they could not proof. We have done a table showing how the petitioners have proven the case so far.

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