Abubakar Atiku, the Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP) nominee for president, experienced a significant setback on Wednesday in his legal fight to unseat Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Nigeria's elected leader.
This is due to the fact that the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal invalidated a number of the petition's arguments that he used to demand Tinubu's dismissal.
Additionally, the Tribunal rejected and disregarded a number of exhibits, including witness statements he offered to support his claims of fraud and irregularities in the presidential election on February 25.
Delivering a ruling in some objections argued by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, on behalf of Tinubu, Justice Moses Ugoh held that several parts of Atiku’s petition have no legs upon which they can stand and survive; hence, they are not competent.
Like the fate that befell his counterpart in the Labour Party’s Peter Obi, the court said several facts fundamentally required to support the petition were not provided by Atiku.
Among others, Atiku was said to have failed and neglected to name places where ballot boxes were snatched, the ways and manners in which the BVAS machine was manipulated, and the names of polling boots where alleged malpractices took place.
The petitioner, who claimed to have polled the majority of lawful votes, was said to have failed to state in clear terms the total lawful votes he claimed to have scored.
The Court held that Atiku alleged that Tinubu did not score a majority of lawful votes but refused to make the perceived lawful votes known in his petition to the Tribunal.
Similarly, the Tribunal said that the former Vice President made grievous allegations against Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, and Chairman of Olamaboro Local Government of Kogi, Friday Adejoh, but neglected to join them as respondents in the petition.
Justice Ugoh held that failure to join the Governor, who was accused of electoral fraud, was fatal to the petition because the Governor was denied the opportunity to defend himself as required by law.
The Tribunal dismissed the allegations of overvoting all over Nigeria made by the petitioner, adding that such pleadings run foul of the law because the specific places where the alleged overvoting took place were not mentioned.
Atiku’s petition was also faulted on the ground that it introduced several facts and allegations in unlawful ways that caught the respondents unaware, adding that the tactic employed was unfair and made him clever by half.
Among the offending new facts said to have been wrongfully introduced by Atiku were the allegations of criminal conviction, certificate forgery, and dual citizenship of Guinea made against Tinubu outside the mode of filing the petition.
Justice Stephen Jonah Adah, who read another ruling on objections against the petition, expunged several documents tendered by Atiku on the ground that the exhibits were made during the pendency of the petition.
Also, the evidence of several key witnesses to Atiku was expunged from the Court record because it was made in a manner not known to the law.
The Tribunal held that the wrongful mode adopted by the PDP’s presidential candidate in the construction of the petition made several paragraphs of the petition liable for striking out for want of merit.