The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal will Wednesday, May 8, formally commence hearing in the petitions filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, his party, the PDP and three other political parties and their presidential candidates against the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Atiku, PDP and the others, in their various petitions, are seeking the nullification of Buhari’s victory at the February 23 presidential poll on allegations of widespread rigging, violations of the Electoral Act, suppression of voters, violence amongst other electoral malpractices.
The others include: the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and its presidential candidate, Chief Ambrose Owuru; Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) and its presidential candidate, Pastor Aminchi Habu and the Coalition for Change (C4C) and its presidential candidate, Jeff Ojinka.
Atiku, in his petition, specifically asked the tribunal to disqualify Buhari as winner of the February 23 presidential election, on the grounds that he (Buhari) did not possess the requisite academic qualification to contest for the office of President.
The petition, which is premised on five grounds, alleged that Buhari lied about his academic qualification as well as schools attended in his form 001 submitted to INEC for purpose of contesting the 2019 presidential election.
Atiku and PDP had filed their petition against the outcome of the election at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) in Abuja, on March 18, 2019.
While the HDP and Owuru’s petition marked CA/EPT/PRE/001/2019, was filed March 7, the petition of the C4C along with its presidential candidate and that of the PDM and its presidential candidate were file same day, March 19, 2019.
However, a statement by the Media Officer of the Court of Appeal, Saadatu Musa Kachalla, on Tuesday, said that the “Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Panel will begin its inaugural session on Wednesday, 8th May 2019 at the Abuja Division courtroom. Time 9.00am”.
While Atiku and the PDP, in grounds 1-3 of their petition, specifically attacked the conduct of the February 23, presidential election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), they asked the tribunal on grounds 3-5 to disqualify Buhari on the grounds that he was not qualified to have contested the election in the first place and as such all votes accredited to him by INEC should be declared as wasted votes.
Owuru, Habu and Ojinka, in their separate petitions, however, prayed the tribunal to nullify the election of Buhari on grounds of alleged massive rigging of the February 23 presidential election as well as substantial non compliance with provisions of the law by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)