The leadership of the ruling APC and it’s candidate President Muhammadu Buhari in the just concluded election has asked the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal to dismiss the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging the Feb.23 general election on technicalities and evidential grounds.
Recall that President Buhari of the APC was pronounced winner of the February 23 presidential elections by over 15 million votes as against Atiku’s 11,262,978 votes by the electoral umpire INEC.
The petition by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubabar, has been referred to by President Muhammadu Buhari as the most worthless election allegation in history.
The prayers formed the gamut of other requests contained in both Mr Buhari and APC’s final addresses to be adopted on August 23 made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
The APC in their request had described the former vice president’s address urging the tribunal to sack Buhari and affirm him (Abubakar) president, as a “wild goose chase prayer’’.
They alleged that PDP erroneously allowed a candidate who was not a Nigerian by birth to contest the highest position, adding that such was an adventure that violated the provision of the Constitution.
Similarly, the lawyers noted that the petition by Atiku and the PDP “failed woefully to adduce credible and reliable evidence to establish the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari forged his certificate as alleged in their petition.”
The APC further submitted that “while it is appropriate to debunk such baseless, mendacious and spurious assertion, it suffices to bring to fore the unequivocal provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), which states the requirement for a candidate to contest the presidential election and occupy the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
According to ruling APC, Section 131(d) provides that; A person shall be qualified for election to the office of the President if – He has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
“More so, the consequence of submitting a forged document to INEC is grave. It therefore requires precise evidence and proof beyond reasonable doubt, which the Petitioners have not been able to establish,” it added.
Drawing reference from the Constitution, the address stated that Section 318 of the Constitution, defines a Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent’ to mean: A secondary School Certificate or its equivalent, or Grade II Teacher’s certificate, the City and Guilds Certificate; or Education up to Secondary School Certificate Level; or Primary Six School Leaving Certificate or its equivalent and (a). Service in the public or private sector in the Federation in any capacity acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for a Minimum of ten years.”
The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal will resume sitting on Wednesday, August 21 in the petition by PDP and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar challenging the result of the election.
The five-member panel of justices presided by Justice Mohammed Garba, will hear the written addresses by PDP and Atiku on one hand, and President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC on the other.