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Instead of going to supreme court, Atiku should apologise to Nigerians – Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed, minister of information, has asked Atiku Abubakar to apologise to Nigerians for distracting the government instead of appealing the verdict of the presidential election petition tribunal.

On Wednesday, the tribunal dismissed the petitions of Atiku and the PDP challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the last presidential election.

In a statement on Thursday, Segun Adeyemi, media aide of the minister, quoted Mohammed as saying that Nigerians would want the petitioners to join hands with the Buhari administration in taking the country to the next level.

The minister said the PDP should be thanking its stars that it is not being prosecuted for ”coming to court with a fraudulently-obtained evidence”.

”Nigerians are tired of this orchestrated distraction, and will rather wish that the opposition, having lost at the polls and in court, will now join hands with the government to move Nigeria to the next level,” he said.

”This is more so that the judgement validating the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari was unanimous that the petition lacked merit, that the petitioners failed to prove any of the grounds upon which their case was anchored and that President Buhari is eminently qualified to contest the poll.

”It is intriguing that a party that trumpets the rule of law at every turn will present, in open court, evidence it claimed to have obtained by hacking into a supposed INEC server.

“Don’t they realise this is a criminal act for which they are liable? Instead of threatening to head to the Supreme Court, driven more by ego than commonsense, they should be sorry for allowing desperation to overwhelm their sense of reasoning. Enough is enough.”

The minister commended the tribunal for taking hours to explain how it arrived at its verdict.

Tribunal dismisses Atiku’s petition against Buhari’s victory

The presidential election petition tribunal has dismissed the petition challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the last election.

At its sitting on Wednesday, the tribunal said the petition filed by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lacked merit.

Mohammed Garba, the lead judge, said the PDP and Atiku failed to provide enough evidence to support the claims in the petition including those bothered on electoral malpractices.

“I have come to the conclusion that the petitioners have not proved any of the grounds in paragraph 15 as required. For failure of this, this petition is hereby dismissed in its entirety,” he said.

Atiku had gone to the tribunal to challenge the victory of Buhari who was declared winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Among the grounds of his petition was that Buhari was not qualified to contest for president, and that he garnered more votes than the APC candidate.

But the tribunal said Buhari was “eminently qualified” to contest the presidential election.

It also ruled that the petitioners failed to prove there were electoral malpractices in the election.

The tribunal also said they failed to establish that electoral officials were harassed and that any such harassment influenced the outcome of the election.

Atiku had claimed results from INEC’s server showed he got more votes than Buhari but the tribunal dismissed this claim as well.

“It is my view that whatever results you claim to have gotten belong to a whistle-blower,” the lead judge said.

“It is possible to use scientific method to alter data on a website. Therefore, the petitioner relied on information from a third party (and) the evidence is unreliable because it is hearsay and inadmissible.”

Atiku vrs Buhari: Tribunal ruling on 2019 election (Live Updates)

3.00 pm: The tribunal considers Issue 3, which is whether or not Buhari was elected by a majority of lawful votes cast on February 23, 2019 election.

2.58 pm: Justice Garba says, “I have no doubt in my mind that the petitioners have failed to prove that the second respondent does not possess the qualification to contest the election into the office of the President as stipulated in section 131, 137, 138 of the Constitution. I am also of the firm view that the petitioners have failed to prove that the second respondent submitted false information which is fundamental in nature to aid his qualification to contest the election into the Office of the President as prescribed in section 35(1) of the Evidence Act, 2011.”

“I come to the conclusion and I resolve issues 1 and 2 against the petitioners,” he states.

2.53 pm: Justice Mohammed Garba of the presidential tribunal says, “The onus rests squarely on the petitioners to prove their assertion that the 2nd respondent does not possess the educational qualification to contest the election or that he submitted false information which is fundamental in nature to aid his qualification. This I have mentioned that the petitioners failed to prove. The petitioners cannot, therefore, rely on any failure in the case.”

2.37 pm: Buhari is not only qualified but eminently qualified to contest the presidential election, says Tribunal.

Buhari would have been qualified by mere showing that he had primary school education. The tribunal says the courses attended by Buhari are higher than secondary school education. Exhibits 21 and 24 tendered by the petitioners showed that Buhari had WASC.

The petitioners have failed to discharge the burden of proof of the allegation of non-qualification or submission of false information which is fundamental in the aid of the 2nd respondent’s qualification, the tribunal declares.

2.21 pm: Tribunal notes that Buhari’s witnesses confirmed that Buhari had secondary school education.

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“In effect, the 2nd defendant went through secondary education and then proceeded to military school. The military school is higher than secondary education,” says the tribunal.

2. 16 pm: Tribunal says it is established that a candidate is not required under the Electoral Act to attach his certificate to his Form CF001 before a candidate is adjudged to have the requisite qualification to contest the election.

Citing a previous Supreme Court judgment, the tribunal says, “Submission of educational certificate is not a requirement for qualification to contest election for governor under section 177 Constitution.”

2.08 pm: Buhari says he completed primary education in 1952, secondary education in 1961. PDP says no proof was presented in court.

2.01 pm: Ex-Borno State Governor and former National Chairman of PDP, Ali Modu Sheriff, walks into the courtroom. He is now a member of the APC.

1.56 pm: The tribunal to resolve Issues 1 and 2 now. Issue 1 dwells on whether Buhari possessed the requisite educational qualification to contest the February 23 presidential election.

The second issue is whether Buhari gave false information (about his educational certificate) in an affidavit submitted to INEC which was fundamental in nature to aid his qualification to contest the election.

Both issues are to be resolved together by the tribunal.

1.50 pm: The tribunal adopts the issues as raised by the petitioners. The tribunal is to deal with the issues in the order as raised by the petitioners’ lead counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN).

1.49 pm: INEC raised four issues for determination, Buhari three, APC raised six issues while the petitioners (Atiku, PDP) raised five issues.

1.41 pm: Justice Mohammed Garba delivering the lead judgment.

1.40 pm: Tribunal resumes sitting.

12.59 pm: Final summary of rulings

A total of eight rulings were delivered:

*Three motions filed by INEC against the petition

-One dismissed

– Two partially succeeded leading to the striking out of some paragraphs in the petitioners’ petition and their reply to INEC’s reply to the petition

* Buhari filed two motions

– Two motions succeded partially leading to the striking out of some paragraphs in the petitioners ‘ reply to Buhari’s reply to the petition

*Petitioners filed one motion against APC’s reply to their petition

– Motion succeded in part leading to the striking out of some of the paragraphs of APC’s reply to the petition

*APC filed two motions

– One succeded partially in terms of prayers 6 and

– APC’s second motion also succeded partially

12.58 pm: Tribunal takes “a short break.” Main judgment to be delivered upon return.

12.57 pm: APC’s second motion also succeded partially.

12.51 pm: Petitioners motion succeded in part leading to the striking out of some of the paragraphs of APC’s reply to the petition.

12.34 pm: The tribunals says it will step down the ruling on the second motion by APC to first deliver ruling on the motion by the petitioner challenging the APC’s reply to their petition on the grounds that the reply is incompetent.

12.09 pm: Buhari’s second motion also succeeded partially. Some other paragraphs of the petitioners’ reply to Buhari’s reply to the petition are struck out.

11.50 am: Buhari’s first motion also succeded partially leading to the striking out of some paragraphs in the petitioners ‘ reply to Buhari’s reply to the petition.

11.46 am: Summary of rulings

*Three motions filed by INEC against the petition.

*One dismissed.

*Two partially succeeded leading to the striking out of some paragraphs in the petitioners’ petition and their reply to INEC’s reply to the petition.

* Buhari filed two motions.

*Two motions succeded partially leading to the striking out of some paragraphs in the petitioners ‘ reply to Buhari’s reply to the petition.

*The last two motions were filed by APC.

11.23 am: Other members of the panel agreed. The motion to be ruled upon is by Buhari asking the tribunal to strike out the petitioners’ reply to his reply to the petition.

11.22 am: Justice Garba also upholds another part of INEC’s motion striking out paragraphs 1 to 26 of part 2 of the petitioners’ reply to the commission’s reply to the petition.

11: 11 am: Justice Garba is to deliver the lead ruling on the application. Justice Garba upholds part of INEC’s prayers in the third application by striking out some paragraphs of the petitioners’ reply to the commission reply to the petition for violating paragraph 16 of the First Schedule to Electoral Act.

11.04 am: Prayer 7 and 8 in INEC’s motion succeed. The tribunal holds some named paragraphs in the petition are struck out for containing serious criminal allegations of undue interference with electoral process against individuals that are not joined as parties to the petition.

The third application is also by INEC asking the tribunal to strike out the petitioners reply to its reply to the petition.

10.53 am: The fifth of the prayers of INEC in the application is now being considered.

The tribunal dismisses the fifth prayer by INEC, saying contrary to the commission’s contention, the petitioners’ paragraphs 148 to 200 and 260 to 261 are not vague, imprecise, or nebulous, and so cannot be struck down as requested by the commission.

10.51 am: Ruling on the issue, Justice Garba says “I find no merit” in the prayer of the applicant.

10.44 am: The tribunal now considering the INEC’s claim that the petitioners’ Ground E is a pre-election issue and thus incompetent. In the petitioners’ ground E, it was alleged that Buhari gave false information of fundamental nature in the affidavit submitted to INEC to aid his qualification to contest the election.

10:43 am: Atiku Vs Buhari: Facts and figures (3)

*May 22, 2019: President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa withdrew as head and member of the five-man tribunal following the petitioners’ allegation of bias against her

*June 10, 2019: Justice Mohammed Garba takes charge as new head of the panel and tribunal’s pre-hearing session commenced

*July 3, 2019: Pre-hearing session ended

10.39 am: Again, the tribunal holds that the ground D of the petition challenged by INEC was valid and competent. It says that by virtue of section 31(5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, the ground D having to do with non-qualification of Buhari to contest the election is both a pre-election and post-election issue.

10.34 am: The tribunal is now considering the aspect of INEC’s motion which says some of the grounds of the petition constitute a pre-election matter which ought to have been filed in court within 14 days after the cause of action arose.

The said pre-election issues referred to by INEC are the allegations by the petitioners that Buhari was not qualified to contest the February 23 poll and that Buhari gave false information in his Form CF001 submitted to INEC.

10.31 am: Justice Garba noted that INEC appears to have made a detour by not further responding to Uzoukwu’s claims. He rules that that documents signed by Uzoukwu as a lawyer whose name appears on the rolls of the Supreme Court were validly and competently filed.

10.27 am: Uzoukwu says he was called into inner bar (conferred with SAN rank) along with INEC’s lead counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN) in 1982. Uzoukwu says he was Attorney-General of Imo State from 1994 to 1996.

10.23 am: The grounds of the INEC’s motion is that the petitioners’ lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), who signed the petitioners’ list of witnesses and other documents was not on the roll of lawyers kept by the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court and as such cannot practise law in Nigeria.

The tribunal says if the allegation is found to be true all the documents of the petitioners will be struck out.

Uzoukwu debunks INEC’s allegation, says he was called to the Nigerian bar in 1982.

10:13 am: The second ruling is on another motion filed by INEC on April 25. The application by INEC seeks among others, the striking out of: 1. The petitioners’ list of documents relied on by the petition, 2. Petitioners’ list of witnesses, 3. Some paragraphs of the petition.

10:07 am: The tribunal unanimously dismisses INEC’s motion which Justice Garba describes as not being well-grounded in law.

The tribunal rules that a vice presidential candidate is not a necessary party in an election petition but an appendage of the presidential candidate who nominated him.

9.57 am: Justice Garba who is delivering the lead ruling of the five-man tribunal is now considering the arguments for and against the INEC’s motion.

9.53 am: The first application to be ruled upon by tribunal is the one filed by INEC (the 1st respondent) asking the tribunal to strike out the petition on the grounds that the petitioners failed to join the vice-presidential candidate of the APC, Yemi Osinbajo, as a party to the petition.

INEC says in the motion that Osinbajo is an indispensable party to the petition. It says failure to join Osinbajo in the petition has robbed the tribunal of jurisdiction to hear the petitioners’ case.

9.49 am: Justice Mohammed Garba who heads the five-man panel announces that reserved rulings on applications taken during the pre-hearing session will be delivered first before the judgment.

9: 44 am: APC’s lawyer, Fagbemi, tenders Olanipekun’s apology for his absence. He said Olanipekun was in Europe when the hearing notice for the proceedings was served on Tuesday.

9. 43 am: Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) announces appearance for the APC’s legal team

9. 39 am: Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) announces appearance for Buhari’s legal team. He takes the place of Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), who is absent at the proceedings.

9.36 am: Yunus Ustaz Usman (SAN) leads INEC’s legal team.

9.35 am: Adams Oshiomhole represents APC. Livy Ozoukwu (SAN) leads petitioners’ legal team.

9.33 am: Uche Secondus represents PDP

9.32 am: Yaya Abubakar represented Atiku.

9.31 am: Secondus introducing himself.

9.28 am: “My lords are about to come in. Can we please settle down?” A court registrar announces.

9.26 am: AGF, Abubakar Malami, is here. Minister of State for Niger Delta, Festus Keyamo, SAN, arrives at the venue.

BREAKING: Buhari qualified to contest presidential election, tribunal rules

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday said President Muhammadu Buhari was qualified for the 2019 election.

The tribunal said Mr Buhari’s certificate from the Nigerian military is higher than the Secondary School certificate stated as a minimum academic requirement for the election in the constitution.

“Mr Buhari is not only qualified but is eminently qualified” for the election, chairman of the Court of Appeal panel said.

Mr Mohammed said this while reading judgement in the petition filed by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party questioning Mr Buhari’s re-election.

Mr Mohammed said the PDP had failed to further prove otherwise.

The court held that the evidence tendered regarding Mr Buhari’s qualifications were not to be relied upon, since the PDP was not the original makers of the documents.

Mr Abubakar and the PDP had through their lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu, among others had contended that Mr Buhari was not qualified to have contested and that he supplied false information to the INEC.

Tribunal fixes Wednesday for judgement on Atiku’s petition against Buhari

The presidential election petition tribunal will deliver judgement on Atiku Abubakar’s petition, challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday.

Sa’adatu Musa, spokesperson of the court of appeal, disclosed this in a notice on Tuesday.

“Please be informed notice has been given for judgment to be delivered tomorrow September 11, 2019. 9. 00 AM,” Musa said.

In his petition, Atiku, the PDP presidential candidate in the February election, had claimed he defeated Buhari by 1,615,302 votes.

Atiku based his claim on information he said was accessed from the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

According to him, he polled 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari, whom he claimed polled 16,741,430 votes.

He argued that the president was unqualified to vie for the highest office in the land because he did not possess the minimum qualification as required by the constitution.

“The 2nd respondent (Buhari) was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast at the election. The election of the 2nd respondent is invalid by reason of corrupt practices. The election of the 2nd Respondent is invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). The 2nd respondent was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the said election,” his petition read.

“The 2nd respondent submitted to the 1st Respondent an affidavit containing false information of a fundamental nature in aid of his qualification for the said election.”

In response to the petition, the All Progressives Congress (APC) said Abubakar is not qualified to be president because he is from Cameroon and not a citizen of Nigeria by birth.

The party asked the tribunal to declare the 11.1 million votes polled by Atiku and the PDP as wasted votes.

The tribunal will settle the scores on Wednesday.

S/Africa xenophobic attacks, a blot on common history – Atiku

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar on Tuesday say xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South-Africa it as a blot on common history of both countries.

Abubakar in a statement he issued in Abuja, described the attack as the most disturbing development in the turn of the century, stressing that Nigerians who live in the Republic of South Africa have consistently been victims of xenophobic violent attacks.

Abubakar, who was the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections, said that it was unfortunate that both countries had not done enough to reduce the spate of those attacks.

He advised both countries to explore available diplomatic measures as soon as possible to address the situation, while urging citizens of both countries to see themselves as one.

“Both Nigeria and South Africa share a history of brotherhood and camaraderie at different times in our difficult times and it is very important that we do not allow this ugly development to cause a blot in our shared history.

“While I will recommend that both countries press all available diplomatic buttons as fast as possible, it is equally important to impress on citizens from both sides to see ourselves as brothers and never as adversaries.

“True, the days of apartheid in South Africa and military rule in Nigeria are far behind us, we still both have a common enemy and that is in expanding the space for economic prosperity to a large range of our peoples.

”The new battle is economic in nature and it will be delusional for both Nigeria and South Africa to think that it is a battle we can win in isolation of each other. Neither and never can victory in the economic battle come by the way of turning daggers at each other,” he warned.

Abubakar said that the only path to success in the battle against poverty and lack of economic empowerment to the peoples would require Nigerians and South Africans to soldier on as brothers and sisters.

This according to him must involve governments from both ends to rework their bilateral trade agreements and statutes to respond to the realities of this time.

Abubakar called on Nigeria mission in South Africa to open its doors wide for all humanitarian support that could be required of them from Nigerian victims of these attacks.

“Also, it will be a good take off ground for solution to this problem for the South African government to cause a probe into the attacks and bring all perpetrators to book,” he said.

Buhari desperate to silence Obasanjo by accusing him of a crime – Atiku

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar says the Buhari administration is desperate to accuse ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo of a crime so as to silence him.

In a statement issued on Monday, Atiku’s media office said the inclusion of Obasanjo’s name in the list of tax defaulters by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) was to blackmail him.

It said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was feeding the media with falsehood to cause disaffection between Obasanjo and his former deputy.

“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is feeding members of the media with deliberate falsehoods in an attempt to cause disaffection and bad blood between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar, on one hand, and between former President Obasanjo and Nigerians in general,’’ the statement read.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Mallam Babalele Abdullahi, Atiku Abubakar’s son-in-law, did not donate any money in cash to the Olusegun Obasanjo Library. Yes, he did facilitate a donation of fifty million naira to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, but so did many other individuals, including civic-minded traditional rulers, state Governors, bankers and captains of industry.

“This is because the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library is a non-governmental organisation that plays a pivotal role in promoting peace and stability in Nigeria, and that should be applauded.”

Referring to Buhari, the media office said unlike “another past leader, who did not improve himself or Nigeria after leaving office, but sat down nursing grudges and plotting revenge, former President Olusegun Obasanjo improved himself and Nigeria by authoring books, founding international think tanks and engaging in peace and capacity building efforts.”

“Donations to institutions set up to promote peace in Nigeria and Africa are to be commended, not criminalised. Presidential libraries in America and other parts of the world are similarly funded by donations from civic-minded individuals,” it said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Mallam Abdullahi’s donation of fifty million naira was made via a bank transfer, in full compliance with the law. He did not donate or make any payment in cash, as the EFCC is erroneously and salaciously misleading the public. Furthermore, the sources of these funds are completely legitimate and have been conclusively proven to the EFCC. It is instructive to note that even the EFCC has not once claimed these funds to be the proceeds of any illegal activity whatsoever.

“The truth is that there is desperation on the part of the current administration to rope in former President Olusegun Obasanjo into a crime as a way of silencing his voice, which they see as the preeminent critical voice against the misrule that they have foisted on Nigerians.

“This is why they asked the Federal Inland Revenue Service to falsely and libelously include his name in a published list of tax evaders, along with the names of other Peoples Democratic Party sympathisers, such as prominent international singer and pride of Nigeria, Davido, who played a prominent role in PDP’s gubernatorial campaign in Osun state, for which he is being punished.’’

The media office said the EFCC has become a propaganda agency and that the presidency, APC, the EFCC, The FIRS and The Nation “are now working together as five fingers of the same leprous hands.”

Tribunal reserves judgment on PDP, Atiku’s petition against Buhari’s election

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja, on Wednesday, reserved its judgment on the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the February 23, 2019 poll.

The five-man tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba announced this after listening to the final arguments of the parties to the case.

Justice Garba said the date for judgment would be communicated to the parties through their lawyers.

“‎Judgment in this petition is hereby reserved and will be delivered on the date to be sent to counsel for the parties,” Justice Garba said.

At the Wednesday’s hearing the petitioners, through their lead counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), urged the court to uphold their case by either declaring them the winner of the election or order a fresh one.

But the respondents – the Independent National Electoral Commission, represented by Yunus Usman (SAN), Buhari, whose legal team was led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), and the All Progressives Congress represented by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) – urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lacking in merit.

The petitioners had called 62 witnesses to prove its case.

While the INEC and the APC called none, Buhari called seven in defence.

The tribunal, on August 1, directed parties to file and exchange their final addresses and fixed Wednesday for the adoption of the addresses.

Buhari to tribunal: Atiku’s petition worthless, meaningless, ungrantable

President Muhammadu Buhari has described the petition by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last presidential election, Atikiu Abubakar, as the most worthless in election litigation history.

The President thus urged the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) to dismiss the petition for lack of merit.

But the PDP candidate insists that the President is unqualified to contest the election. He urged the tribunal to quash his victory.

These are the highlights in the final written addresses submitted to the court, which they are expected to adopt on August 21 when the court will hear final submissions from parties to the petition by Atiku and the PDP, challenging the outcome of the last presidential election.

In a leaked report by The Nation, Buhari and the APC argued that not only are the reliefs sought by the petitioners “ungrantable and meaningless”, they (Atiku and the PDP) failed woefully to prove the allegations as contained in their petition.

Buhari and the APC, after analysing the evidence by witnesses called by the petitioners, argued that in their attempt to establish their allegations, they dumped documents on the court in the name of tendering documentary evidence.

They said: “It is submitted with every force that in the annals of election petition proceedings in Nigeria, this particular petition has been the most starved in terms of evidence, whether oral or documentary.

The petitioners also woefully failed to appreciate that this court does not wrought miracles, but decides cases according to law, and not based on sentiments.

“Whereas, the petitioners are challenging results of election in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and have pleaded in paragraph 107 of their petition that there were 119,973 polling units in the country, they called only five polling unit agents to give evidence, i.e PW5 of Mai Angwa Yclwa 008 Polling Unit of Jigawa State; PW6 of Farin Dutse 001 Polling Unit of Jigawa State; PW12 of Polling Unit 009 of Nasarawa “B” Ward of Niger State; PW46 of Unit 009, Karu Ward of Nasarawa State, and PW49 of Unit 1, Morowa of Nasarawa State.

“Apart from the fact that these witnesses made no impression on the petitioners’ case, a pertinent question arises, to wit, what happens to the remaining witnesses in respect of the outstanding 119, 968 polling units in the country?

Respondent submits that the petitioners are not in the least bit, serious at ventilating any grievance against the presidential election of 23rd February, 2019 before this honourable court. From the presentation of the petition, through to the calling of witnesses, the petitioners would appear to be very unsure and unsteady as to what they want precisely.

“This is not surprising as the entirety of the petition is based on assumptions, speculations and conjectures. The petition itself is based on conflicting and irreconcilable grounds, the last two of which glibly suggest that the 2nd respondent (Buhari) was not qualified to contest the election under reference.

“As against the grounds, the evidence given, both oral and the dumped documentary, suggests something different; the five reliefs sought are not any shade better than the grounds, but they vividly bring to the fore the confusion enveloping the entire petition.”

PDP, Atiku to tribunal: We have built iron-cast case for Buhari to be sacked

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the February 23 presidential election, Atiku, have asked the presidential election tribunal to sack President Muhammadu Buhari on account of him not possessing the requisite academic qualifications to have contested the Presidency in the poll.

While insisting that it has made an iron cast case against the eligibility of the President to have contested for the number one position in the country, the petitioners further maintained that the election that produced him did not meet up with the standard set out in the Electoral Act.

This was contained in the 43-page final addresses to the Justice Mohammed Garba-led five- member presidential election tribunal filed by their lead counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), on August 14, 2019.

The petitioners who are challenging the return of Buhari and the credibility of the election had closed their case after calling 62 witnesses and tendering over 4, 000 documents.

Meantime, the tribunal has fixed August 21 for the adoption of final addresses by parties to the petition.

But in its final written address, the PDP and Atiku insisted that they have proved all allegations contained in their petition against the conduct of the February 23 presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The petitioners further claimed to have established the fact that Buhari does not possess the requisite academic qualification for the position of President of Nigeria.

They stated that even Buhari’s own witnesses under cross-examination admitted to the fact that Buhari does not possess a school certificate, being the basic requirements for contesting the office of the president.

“We therefore submit that all the purported evidence led by the 2nd respondent (Buhari) to prove that he attended a secondary school or a primary school or that he attended some courses, is irrelevant because he did not rely on any of those purported qualifications in exhibit P1, he relied on primary school certificate, WASC and Officer Cadet.

“Equally futile is his attempt to prove that he can speak and write in the English language. That is all irrelevant to his inability to produce his primary school certificate, secondary school certificate or WASC and his Officer Cadet qualification, whatever that means. Officer Cadet is not a qualification or certificate under the Constitution and Electoral Act; nor is it known to any law.

On the purported Cambridge University certificate tendered by Buhari before the tribunal, the petitioners asked why, “it was easier for Buhari to go all the way to Cambridge in the United Kingdom to obtain a bogus documents that his own witnesses said was not a certificate, instead of just driving down the street in Abuja to the Army Headquarters or placing a phone call to the Secretary of the Military Board in Abuja to hurry over with his certificate or certificates.”

They further contended that, “A comparison of the purported Cambridge Assessment International Education Certifying Statement of the purported West African Examinations Council (WAEC) certificate and a certified true copy of the purported confidential result sheet of the University of Cambridge West African School Certificate of 1961 for the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina, reveals many discrepancies in the supposed result.

“One listed 8 subjects that the candidate therein mentioned one ‘Mohamed Buhari’ allegedly sat for, the other 6 subjects, both documents are therefore unreliable as both cannot be correct. The contradiction must count against the 2nd respondent.

Another false claim by Buhari, according to the petitioners is that he attended, “Elementary School, Daura and Mai Aduwa 1948-52”. Elementary School Daura is totally different from Mai Aduwa, their locations are totally different. He also claimed he entered Middle School Katsina in 1953, however, the petitioners submitted that by 1953, the Middle School system had been abolished in the Northern Region of Nigeria.

On the claim that his certificates were with the military, the petitioners submitted that Buhari failed woefully to prove the claim, “rather the petitioners’ evidence to the contrary was not contested nor challenged.

It is also the case of the petitioners that they have successfully proved that the Nigerian Army had denied being in possession of Buhari’s alleged certificates.

“One of the strongest evidence on the issue was given by the second respondent’s own witness, RW1, General Paul Tafa, (Rtd), who under cross examination by the 1st respondent (INEC), told the court firmly and unequivocally that the Army did not collect the certificates of military Officers and added, ‘there was no such thing”.

On the issue of rigging and non-compliance with the Electoral Act, the petitioners said with the plethora of evidence tendered and witnesses called they have been able to show to the tribunal that Buhari’s election was invalid.

They added that analysis of results from 11 states showed how INEC in connivance with Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) wrongly and unlawfully credited Buhari with votes not valid or lawful.

According to them documents tendered before the tribunal showed huge discrepancies between collated results as contained in the tendered Certified True Copies of forms EC8A and polling units.

They further alleged that a total of 2, 906,384 votes were cancelled across the country, while 2, 698,773 Nigerians were disenfranchised.

They said the two figures when added exceeded the 3, 928,869 differential between the votes as stated in INEC form EC8E.

JUST IN: EFCC arraigns Atiku’s son-in-law, lawyer for money laundering

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned Abdullahi Babalele, son-in-law of Atiku Abubakar, for allegedly laundering $140,000 in the build up to the 2019 general election.

Uyiekpen Osagie-Giwa, Atiku’s lawyer, was also arraigned for allegedly laundering $2 million in connection with the elections.

The duo were arraigned before the federal high court in Lagos, on Wednesday.

Atiku contested the presidential election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

More to follow….

EFCC arrests Atiku’s lawyer, to charge him with ‘laundering $2m’

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested Uyi Giwa-Osagie, a legal adviser of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, over alleged money laundering.

Osagie was arrested after he honoured an invitation of the anti-graft agency in Lagos on Thursday.

The agency has filed charges over alleged money laundering to the tune of $2 million against Giwa-Osagie.

According to the charge sheet, Osagie made a payment of $2 million without going through any financial institution.

The EFCC said the amount which exceeded what is authorised by law, was meant for the 2019 general election.

Atiku contested the presidential election under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Giwa-Osagie was arrested in the buildup to the 2019 elections.

Here are some of the counts levelled against the lawyer:

Count one

That you UYIEKPEN GlWA-OSAGIE and ERHUNSE GlWA-OSAGIE, sometimes in February, 2019 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired to commit an offence to wit: making cash payment of the sum of $2,000,000.00 (Two Million United State Dollars) without going through financial institution which sum exceeded the ‘ amount authorized by Law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a), and 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

Count two

That you UYIEKPEN GIWA-OSAGIE on or before the 12th day of February,2019 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, procured ERHUNSE GIWA OSAGIE to make cash payment of the sum of $2,000,000.00 (Two Million United State Dollars) without going through financial institution, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by Law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

Nigerians are victims of Buhari’s grand cluelessness – Atiku

Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president, says he will keep speaking up for Nigerians who have become victims of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘grand cluelessness’.

In statement issued by Paul Ibe, his media aide, on Saturday, Abubakar said the Buhari administration had not responded to a report by the UNDP which stated that 98 million Nigerians were living in multidimensional poverty because he was yet to make a remark on it.

He said the administration was living in denial and relying on propaganda, and only becomes responsive when he comments on issues.

“On July 10, the United Nations reawakened Nigerians to the brutal reality of how poorly the Gen Muhammadu Buhari administration has managed the nation’s economy with a damning verdict that 98 million Nigerians live in multi-dimensional poverty,” he said.

“Like it is typical of General Buhari and his handlers, they didn’t make any comment about the scary statistics coming from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“Perhaps, one reason they didn’t want to comment on the report is because it is factual – Nigerians in the past four years indeed live in multi-dimensional poverty.”

“The other plausible reason they didn’t deem it fit to respond to the report is because Atiku Abubakar has yet to make a remark on the report. If the only reason why the Buhari administration will react to the affliction it has brought on Nigerians is for Atiku to call the nation’s attention to how bad things have gone in the country under the slumber of General Buhari, Atiku will more than always, be ready to stand and speak up for the millions of countrymen and women who have become victims of his (Buhari’s) misrule and grand cluelessness.”

Abubakar had called for an independent inquiry into the reported secret burial of soldiers who died in the Boko Haram war.

In response, the presidency accused of him of being desperate to be president through other means.

Presidency accuses Atiku of ‘denigrating’ Nigeria’s democracy

Femi Adesina, special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, says Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is denigrating the country’s democracy.

Adesina said this in reaction to comments made by the former vice-president on the reported secret burial of soldiers who have died in the war against Boko Haram.

The Wall Street Journal had reported how the soldiers killed by Boko Haram insurgents were allegedly buried in hidden graveyards.

Shortly after, the former vice-president called for an independent inquiry into the said secret burial.

But in a statement on Friday, Adesina accused Abubakar of being quick to play up negative developments in the country, adding that his alleged actions are in “vain.”

“Before and after the Osun State judgement, the PDP candidate had always been quick to play up negative developments in the country, the latest of which is the tendentious story by Wall Street Journal, alleging that about one thousand Nigerian soldiers had been recently killed by Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa terrorists, and secretly buried by Nigerian military authorities,” he said.

“The military has duly countered the story, educating the Wall Street Journal on the hollowness of its publication.

“But Alhaji Abubakar has quickly weighed in on the matter, as part of his gambit to whip up emotions, and perhaps get the judiciary to reflect the ‘pulse of the nation’ in its judgment.

“According to the PDP candidate, who lost the last February poll by nearly four million votes, as released by the electoral umpire, he could ‘not fathom that in the space of a year, scores of great patriots were killed and buried secretly without their families being told.’

“In an apparent afterthought and doublespeak, he added that he was hesitant to believe that ‘such grand scale of deceit is even possible under a democracy, such as Nigeria is expected to be.’

“The above, rather than mitigate Alhaji Abubakar’s position, gives him out as someone who denigrates the country’s democracy, which he was part of building, in his heyday, before unbridled ambition blinded.

“Yes, soldiers fighting insurgency and terrorism are great patriots. But the same can’t be said of anyone quick to believe any negative story about his country, however fictive and lacking in verity as the story could be. Well, except such person had the motive of whipping up negative sentiments and emotions, so that the judiciary could respond to the ‘pulse of the nation and reflect it.’

“Therefore, in vain does anybody labour to devalue the government and its military, thinking it would fall into a grand plan to get into office through artifice. The campaigns and elections for 2019 are long over. The country has moved on. And those who know it actually know it.”

WAEC official disowns Buhari’s certificate at election tribunal

A West African Examinations Council official, Osidehinde Adewunmi, on Wednesday, denied signing the Cambridge University Moderated Examination certificates produced by President Muhammadu Buhari and tendered as exhibits before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja.

The two documents earlier admitted as Exhibits R19 and R21on Tuesday were Buhari’s statement of results and the broadsheet for the results of the 18 candidates, including Buhari, who sat for the Cambridge University Assessment International Education examinations in 1961.

Adewunmi, who is WAEC’s Deputy Registrar, School Examinations in Nigeria, who appeared before the tribunal upon a subpoena issued on him by the tribunal at the instance of Buhari, confirmed on Wednesday that he certified the Cambridge University documents but admitted that they were not issued by WAEC.

He testified as Buhari’s fourth defence witness in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging Buhari’s victory in the February 23 poll.

Part of the grounds of the petition seeking the nullification of Buhari’s victory was that the President lacked the educational qualification to contest the polls.

Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, who testified as a defence witness on Tuesday, said he personally signed for and collected the Cambridge University documents on July 18, 2019. But the petitioners contended that Kyari collected the documents months after they filed their petition.

When cross-examined by counsel for the All Progressives Congress, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Adewunmi said he certified the documents bearing the name of the University of Cambridge Moderated Examination earlier tendered and admitted as Exhibit R21.

Put to him by the APC’s lawyer, the witness, who said he had been working with WAEC for about 30 years, confirmed that the examination was conducted by Cambridge University in conjunction with WAEC.

He confirmed that 18 persons sat for the examination in 1961, adding that Buhari was number two on the list of the candidates.

Adewunmi confirmed that Buhari sat for eight subjects in the examination and made five credits – Oral English C5, History A3, Geography C6, Hausa C5 and Health Science C6.

“He (Buhari) came out with aggregate of 32 and he was awarded Grade 2,” he said.

“Whoever has this (the R21 exhibit) has secondary education.”

When asked by lawyer for the petitioners, Livy Uzoukwu (SAN, if Exhibit R19 was a certificate, Adewunmi said, “I cannot say whether it is a certificate because my signature is not on the document. It is not bearing my name or the name of my organisation.

“This document is bearing the name of Cambridge University Assessment International Education.”

Asked if the document was issued by WAEC, he said, “It is not from the West Africa Examination Council.”

Asked about Exhibit R21, he said, “This is the foundation, the primary foundation for the issuance of a certificate.

“This is not a certificate.”

When asked, he also said, “I have never worked with the University of Cambridge”.

In his bid to point out the contradictions in the two documents, Uzoukwu asked the witness to compare the number of subjects listed against Buhari in them.

Adewunmi said, “The number of subjects listed against the 2nd respondent (Buhari) is eight, and in R19 six subjects.”

He also confirmed that the first name on the two documents was “Mohamed” and as against the President’s “Muhammad”.

Adewunmi also confirmed that WAEC Registrar, Dr Iyi Uwadiae, issued a WAEC attestation certificate to Buhari on November 2, 2018.

He disagreed with the petitioners’ lawyer that the issuance of an attestation certificate was limited to cases of loss or misplacement.

Another witness, Mohammed Abba, a Senior Special Assistant to the President, who testified on Wednesday as the fifth defence witness, told the tribunal that Buhari was educated.

He identified Buhari in a group photograph with those said to be the President’s Class 6 mates of 1961.

He said he had known Buhari for 30 years.

In his bid to clear doubts as to why “Mohamed” appeared on the Cambridge credentials instead of “Muhammad”, Fagbemi asked the witness whose first name incidentally is “Mohammed” to offer clarifications.

The witness said, “There is no difference between Mohamed and Muhammad. Hausa will call it Muhammadu, Yoruba will call it Momodu.”

Under cross-examination by Uzoukwu, Abba admitted that “no certificate was listed, mentioned or attached to Buhari’s curriculum vitae personally signed by the President.

He also agreed that the photographs in which he identified Buhari was not a certificate.

APC warns Atiku against posing as shadow president

The All Progressives Congress has accused the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, of making public statements on issues constitutionally reserved for the duly elected head of government or his designees.

The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said Atiku as a former Vice President ought to understand the workings of the government.

Likening his action to felony, the party warned him against making such utterances in the future, saying security agencies would not be prevented from doing their work irrespective of the class of anyone that committed the act.

The statement said, “As a Party, we would have thought that Alh Atiku, who in the past occupied such high office as the country’s vice president, would clearly understand the workings of government, particularly as it bothers on national security, foreign policy and our international engagement.

“We have noted Alh Atiku’s incessant habits of releasing statements on public issues as if he were an alternative President of this country and with a clear intention to undermine President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC-led government.

“In recent times, Alh Atiku has demonstrated lack of regard for the sovereignty of the office of the President and Nigerian government through condescending statements. He has made several of such statements regarding the activities of the Nigerian military, issues of national security, and international relations.

“The latest of such statements is the one he made on the emergence of Mr. Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of Britain even when our duly elected President, who has the responsibility of making an official statement on such matter, has made the position of our country known.

“We note with serious concern that Alh. Atiku has been throwing himself around as a shadow President of Nigeria. We would like to state clearly that such position could only be found under the parliamentary system; it does not exist under the Presidential system of government that we practice in Nigeria.”

The APC advised Atiku to note that being a candidate for an elective office, including that of the President, did not confer on him a sovereign status.

“Alh. Atiku’s continuous portrayal of himself as a shadow President under our system borders on felony and makes him a patent impostor.

“There can only be one democratically elected and legitimate government at a time in this country. That clearly is the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“It is important to remind Alh. Atiku that issues of national security, foreign policy and international engagements are not matters to be exploited to achieve mischievous political ends

Election petition: INEC’s refusal to call witnesses proves Atiku won, says Shettima

The National Chairman of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima has called on the presidential election tribunal to declare the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the last presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, the winner of the February 23 presidential election.

Shettima’s call came on the heels of the refusal of the Independent National Electoral Commission to call any witness to defend its case against the petition filed by the opposition PDP, on Monday, at the presidential tribunal sitting on Monday.

Atiku and the PDP are challenging the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner by INEC.

Shettima, who spoke with our correspondent on the issue, said the refusal of INEC’s lawyers to provide witnesses to debunk Atiku/PDP’s claims was enough for the tribunal to declare Atiku the winner of the election.
He added that beyond the activities at the tribunal, Nigerians were already clear about the “fact that INEC wrongly declared Buhari the winner.”

He said, “I am just concerned if the Presidential tribunal will declare the rightful winner of the election. Nigerians already know what transpired during the elections, before the case got to the tribunal. But now that the case is at the tribunal we hope that justice will be done as expected by everyone.

“Today now, we all saw what happened at the tribunal. And we all know what that implies. I wish the court will do the right thing. However, whatever they do, the consequence is awaiting us in the future. I would tell them to be careful not to allow a repeat of what happened during the 1993 election between MKO Abiola and Bashir Tofa.”

Shettima said whatever happened, while the tribunal sittings last, would forever remain in the history of Nigeria’s democracy, adding that the next generation would never forget whoever participated in rewriting history.

He said, “For INEC not to bring a witness simply means that they know the truth. It also means that what PDP brought forward was the true picture of what transpired during that election. And if that be the case, the court should not delay in doing justice to the matter by declaring Atiku the winner of the election.”

When the tribunal called INEC to open its case, on Monday, the electoral umpire’s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN), affirmed before the tribunal that it would not be necessary on the grounds that the evidence extracted from the petitioners’ witnesses during cross-examination was in support of the commission’s case.

Atiku hails U.S. govt for visa ban on election riggers

Former Vice  President, Atiku Abubakar, has commended the U.S. for imposing visa restrictions on Nigerians believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria.

Abubakar made the commendation in a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Abubakar, who was the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the February election, commended the U.S for standing with the Nigerian people against undemocratic forces.

He urged Nigerians to remain hopeful, saying that the efforts of those that fought for true democracy would not be in vain.

NAN recalls that a statement by the Spokesman of the U.S Department of State, Morgan Ortagus, on July 23, says that as Nigeria marks the 20th anniversary of her democratic rule this year, the U.S remained committed to advancing democracy in the country.

“As Nigeria marks the twentieth anniversary of a return to democratic rule this year, we remain committed to working together to continue to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations.

“We condemn those whose acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption harmed Nigerians or undermined the democratic process.

“The U.S. government said that we would consider consequences – including visa restrictions – For individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or for organising election-related violence.

“To that end, the Secretary of State is imposing visa restrictions on Nigerians believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria,” he said.

PDP witness: An INEC official was caught with $10,000 on election day

Likita Ali, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) agent, says an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was arrested with $10,000 on the day of the presidential election.

Ali said this on Tuesday while being cross-examined by Yunus Usman, counsel to INEC.

The witness said he served as agent of the PDP in Lafia local government area of Nasarawa state.

He said the unidentified INEC official was allegedly caught at the Lafia local government collation centre.

“I was there when the INEC official was caught. Lafia local government collation centre was where it happened.”

When Usman asked him if the INEC official was alive, he responded saying: “He should be alive.”

The witness said he reported the matter to the security agencies in the area and the official was arrested and transferred to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) office in Lafia.

When asked by Mike Igbokwe, a counsel to Muhammadu Buhari, if he kept a copy of the statement to police, Ali said “no.”

He added that he visited all the 24 polling units in his ward.

Buhari’s lawyer shows video clip of INEC chairman talking about transmission of results

Alex Izinyon, counsel to President Muhammadu Buhari, has tendered a video clip of Mahmood Yakubu, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, discussing difficulty in the transmission of election results.

Izinyon tendered the clip on Tuesday at the resumed cross-examination of Segun Showunmi, star witness of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), at the presidential election petitions tribunal in Abuja.

Showunmi was a spokesman of the Atiku Abubakar presidential campaign.

While the clip was played in open court, the INEC chairman was heard saying: “Recall that we have had discussions with the NCC, telecos, we have blind, how do we transmit results in blind spots.”

Yakubu also expressed concerns about cyber security.

After the clip ended, Buhari’s counsel asked the witness if he could identify INEC chairman, he said: “He may look like him.”

Asked again if that was INEC chairman: “He could be” but Showunmi identified Channels Television logo.

After that Izinyon sought to tender the video and its certificate of compliance but Chris Uche, counsel to the petitioners, objected.

Uche argued that the respondent could not be tendering evidence while they were doing so adding that they “will have their time.”

Thereafter, the tribunal led by Mohammed Garba marked the clip as evidence.