Update: Tribunal dismisses entire Atiku, PDP petition
Atiku vs Buhari
The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has dismissed the petition by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging the February 23 election.
The five-member panel on Wednesday dismissed, for inability to prove beyond reasonable doubt, the allegation that the election was invalid by a reason of corruption and non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
Atiku and PDP, in the fourth and fifth issue in their petition, alleged that security agencies and agents of the APC committed acts of violence, vote-buying, manipulation of ballot papers, stuffing of ballot boxes, massive thumbprinting of ballot papers among others.
But the judges led by Justice Mohammed Garba held that Atiku and PDP failed to call witnesses from the 11 focal states, mainly in the North, affected by the allegations, polling unit by polling unit as required by law.
“The non-calling of any witness who signed the forms is detrimental to their case,” he said.
“The burden of proof in sections 131 and 136 of the Evidence Act was not discharged on any of the grounds for the petition.
“The petitioners have not proved any of the grounds of their petition in Paragraph 15. The petition is liable to be dismissed and is hereby dismissed in its entirety.”
The judge also commended the lawyers in the petition for their “industry” and “the brilliant final address filed before the tribunal.”