The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Monday evening, has stormed the election tribunal to lodge a petition to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission on February 27.
Under section 134 of the Electoral Act, 2010, any candidate that was dissatisfied with the outcome of the presidential contest, was mandated to approach the tribunal with a petition, not later than 21 days after the result was announced, a deadline that will expire on Tuesday.
While the tribunal must deliver its judgment in writing within 180 days from the date the petition was filed.
As at the time of filing this report, 7:50pm, Atiku’s team of lawyers led by Mr. Chukwuma Machukwu Ume, SAN, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, and Mr. Emeka Etiaba, SAN, are perfecting the filing process at the Central Registry of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, PEPT.
The tribunal will be conducting its proceedings at the Court of Appeal headquarters in Abuja.
Though Atiku had yet to arrive at the tribunal where he is expected to personally depose to an affidavit, however, some chieftains of the PDP, including its spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan and Alhaji Buba Galadima, accompanied the lawyers to the tribunal.
Addressing newsmen, National Legal Adviser of the PDP, Mr. Emmanuel Enoidem, revealed that Atiku would be seeking two principal reliefs at the tribunal.
He said the first relief was for an order declaring him as the bona-fide winner of the 2019 presidential election.
In the alternative, Atiku and the PDP, are urging the tribunal to nullify the February 23 presidential election on the premise that it was marred by irregularities.
“We asked that our candidate who won the election massively across the country be declared the winner.
“In the alternative, we also asked that the election be set aside on the ground of irregularity which was apparent across the country.
“We have a pool of 20 SANs who are tested in election petition matters and other senior lawyers who are also working with them. So we are confident.
“We have also lined up more than 400 witnesses that are going to testify in this petition.
“Nigerians are at home with what happened on February 23, the sham they called election. We are going to re-present those facts to Nigerians, we are not going to manufacture facts”, he added.
Similarly, a member of the legal team, Chief Ozekhome, SAN, told journalists that the petitioners encountered serious challenges in the hands of INEC which is said was reluctant to grant them access to the electoral materials.
“Our petition is quite solid, very strong and unassailable. We believe that by the grace of God, the original winner will regain his mandate”, Ozekhome added.