Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday dismissed the petition filed by Atiku Abubakar and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 presidential poll.
The five man tribunal in a unanimous judgment held that the petitioners failed to prove allegations of electoral malpractice, violence amongst others claimed in their petition.
Atiku and PDP in their joint petition filed on March 18, 2019, specifically asked the tribunal to disqualify Buhari, 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 was premised on five grounds, among which 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.
However, in the lead judgment delivered by chairman of the tribunal, Justice Mohammed Garba, the tribunal held that the petitioners did not discharge the burden of proof and as such dismissed the petition.
Apart from the issue of alleged non qualification and submission of information of fundamental falsehood to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by Buhari to aid his qualification, other issues the petitioners raised include deployment of electronic voting, over voting, substantial non compliance with the electoral law as well as use of security agencies to rig the election in favour of Buhari.
However, the tribunal in the unanimous decision held that despite the 62 witnesses called by the petitioners, they were unable to prove their allegations against the conduct of the February 23 presidential polls.