Tribunal Upholds Buhari’s Victory, Dismisses Atiku Petition
The Presidential Election Tribunal sitting in Abuja has upheld the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari, dismissing the petition filed by the main opposition party candidate, Atiku Abubakar on lack of proper evidence.
At the tribunal on Wednesday, INEC raised four issues for determination, Buhari raised three, APC raised six issues while the petitioners (Atiku, PDP) raised five issues.
Delivering the lead judgment, Justice Mohammed Garba said ‘it is clear that the election results were collated manually as the evidence of the five witnesses who claimed that the results were transmitted electronically has no bearing on the requirement of proof expected of the petitioners. It is like a drop in the ocean.’
“Electronic voting or transmission of results have no statutory backing. The mode of voting and collation of results have not changed from being manual since 2015,” he added.
The judge, who recalled the 2015 judgments of the Supreme Court which held that card readers were only recognised for use to authenticate the owner of the voter card, said that the tribunal held that the manual provided by INEC did not provide for electronic transmission of results.
“Card reader machine has not replaced the voter register. A petitioner must rely on the card reader to prove non-accreditation or over-voting,” he said.
He then ruled that the evidence and report of PW59, witness 59 of the petitioners, cannot be relied on that there was indeed INEC server or servers, as the case may be, into which the results of the presidential election were transmitted.
Issues 4 and 5 of the petition filed against the emergence of President Buhari by Atiku were based on whether or not the election was marred by corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provisions of Electoral Act.
Under these issues, the petitioners had alleged that the election was marred by irregularities, misuse of scarce resources, manipulation of result sheets, overvoting, wrongful recording of results, intimidation of voters among others in 11 “focal states, namely: Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Yobe and Zamfara States”.
In its ruling, the tribunal said the allegations leveled under the issues were criminal in nature and must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
The Tribunal said none of the documents tendered by the petitioners was utilised to prove the allegations, such as over-voting.
“I have come to the conclusion which is inevitable and unavoidable, that the petitioners have not proved any of the grounds of the petition in paragraph 15 of the petition.This petition is accordingly and hereby dismissed in its entirety,” Justice Garba added.