I always defeated Atiku in every election--Buhari - Trends and Politics


Wednesday, 17 April 2019

I always defeated Atiku in every election--Buhari

Elections Petitions Tribunal Members

Following a preliminary objection to challenge the competence of a petition that Atiku lodged against his re-election on February 23, President Buhari, boasted that he had always defeated the PDP in every electoral contest that both of them took part in.
Buhari said that the electorate always chose him ahead of Atiku, in both inter-party or intra-party contests.
He said: "The respondent further avers that at every previous instance, whether at intra-party or inter-party contests, where he and the 1st petitioner had vied, he has always been the preference of the electorate and/or delegates. 
"In particular, at the primary election conducted by the 3rd respondent (APC)  in 2014, to pick its presidential candidate for the 2015 election, the 1st petitioner and respondent, amongst others, were the candidates; and while the respondent polled 3,430 votes, 1st petitioner came a distant third with 954 votes", President Buhari stated in the process he filed before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.”
President Buhari also queried the powers of the tribunal to nullify his election victory at the poll, contending that the joint petition Atiku and the PDP entered against him was incompetent as it was based on conjectures.
He dismissed the reliefs the petitioners are seeking from the tribunals "vague, nebulous and lacking in specificity", argued that most of the issues and grounds of the petition were not only "mutually exclusive", but also outside the jurisdiction of the tribunal.
President Buhari argued that by virtue of section 31(5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, only the Federal High Court or High Court of a State has jurisdiction to adjudicate on some the issues, among which included the allegation that he was bereft of the requisite educational qualification.
He told the tribunal that contrary to Atiku's allegation that he submitted false academic qualifications in the Form CF001 he used to secure clearance from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, he said he was at the time of the election, "eminently qualified to contest the election, having not only the minimum qualification of reading up to secondary school level, but rose to the peak of his career as a General in the Nigerian Army with cognate experience and training.
"All information in the affidavit submitted by the respondent for the purpose of his election to the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is true and correct, to the best of his information and knowledge", he added.
He therefore maintained that all paragraphs of the petition relating to or touching on his alleged non possession of requisite educational qualification, "are liable to be struck out".
He further argued that the alternative relief in the petition seeking a fresh election, was inconsistent with relief 409(a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) of the same petition, saying, "thus, all the reliefs in the petition are liable to be struck out.
"The entire reliefs are not justiciable, as the petitioners who claim to have scored majority of lawful votes in substantial number of States, are also questioning their own return in those States; the petitioners cannot act as petitioners and respondents in the same petition. 
"By the petitioners’ pleadings, they claim to have majority of votes cast at the election in Rivers State, Bayelsa State, Akwa lbom State. Enugu State. Ebonyi State. Abin State Imo State. Delta State. Cross River State, Edo State, Anambra State, 0ndo State, Oyo State, Benue State, Plateau State, Adamawa State, Taraba State, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; yet, they seek an alternative and incongruous relief that the presidential election of 23rd  February, 2019, be nullified and a fresh election ordered, without first praying for the nullification of election in the States where they claim to have won".
He argued that by virtue of section 137 of the Electoral Act,  petitioners cannot question results of election in States where they claim to have won and still retain themselves as petitioners.
He further contended that by virtue of section 285(9) of the constitution, some of Atiku's complaints, including his alleged ineligibility to contest the 2019 presidential election, being pre-election matter, can no longer be litigated upon or considered since 14 days had elapsed since the supposed cause of action arose.
"Pursuant to section 285(10) of the constitution, this honourable court lacks the jurisdiction to countenance both the complaints and the reliefs altogether", President Buhari insisted.
He argued that all portions of the petition relating to the use of Card Reader Device are liable to be struck out, same being incompetent and not rooted in any existing legislation.
He equally argued that every aspect of the petition grounded on or relating to electronic data purportedly retrieved or downloaded from INEC's server are also  liable to be struck out, "same being incompetent and not rooted in any existing legislation".
"That there were no incidences of corrupt practices at the election of 23rd  February, 20l9, as alleged by the Petitioners; and that the declaration and return of the respondent President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is valid and in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution, the Electoral Act, and all other Laws, Rules, Guidelines and Regulations, regulating the election. 
"That the election of the respondent as the elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is valid and was conducted in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act. 
"Contrary to paragraph 17 of the petition, the respondent states that the petitioners scored a total of 11,262,978 votes, trailing far behind the respondent who scored a total of 15,191,847 votes, with a margin of 3.328.869 votes".

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