The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, on Wednesday suffered a major setback in his petition seeking the nullification of the election of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) struck out several paragraphs of his petition relied upon to sack Tinubu from office.
Also several exhibits including statements of witnesses he tendered to establish his allegations of irregularities, malpractices against the February 25 presidential election were rejected and discountenanced by the Court.
Delivering 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, not competent.
Like in the case of the Labour Party’s Presidential candidate, Mr. 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 of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine were manipulated and names of polling booths where the alleged malpractices took place.
Atiku, who claimed to have polled majority of lawful votes was said to have failed to state in clear terms, the total lawful votes he claimed to have scored and held that Atiku alleged that Tinubu did not score majority of lawful votes but refused to make the perceived lawful votes known in his petition to the court.
Similarly, the court held that the former Vice President made grievous allegations against Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello and Chairman of Olamaboro Local Government of Kogi state, 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 opportunity to defend himself as required by law.
The court dismissed the allegations of over voting all over Nigeria by the petitioner, adding that such pleadings run foul of the law because the specific places where the alleged over voting 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, dual citizenship of Guinea made against Tinubu outside the mode of filing 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 of Atiku were expunged from the Court record having been made in manners not known to law.
The court 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