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Breaking: Tribunal upholds Buhari’s election, dismisses Atiku, PDP petitions

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Says Buhari eminently qualified to contest 2019 presidential election

•Strikes out APC’s petition on Atiku’s nationality

•Atiku’s petition valid, competently filed

Senator Iroegbu

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) has upheld President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the February 23, 2019 presidential ballot.

The tribunal, which gave its judgement late Wednesday morning at the Court of Appeal Headquarters in Abuja, said that the petitioner, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had failed to prove the claims based on which he asked for the voiding of Buhari’s election.

The tribunal led by Justice Garba Mohammed consequently dismissed the petition “in its entirety”. It however refrained from awarding costs to any of the parties.

The PEPT also dismissed the argument by the PDP seeking to disqualify President Muhammadu Buhari, the APC presidential candidate for the 2019 General Election.

The court ruled that Buhari possess the West African School Certificate Examination, (WASCE), to contest the 2019 presidential election.

It said Buhari was not only qualified, but eminently qualified to contest the election, saying that the petitioners (Atiku Abubakar and PDP), could not run away from the fact that Buhari obtained WASCE which qualified him for the election.

The court said apart from being qualified, the president also obtained other certificates to validate claims that he is eminently qualified for the presidential poll.

The Chairman of the tribunal, Garba Mohammed, therefore struck out the claims by the PDP and Atiku that Buhari did not possess the needed qualification for the election and that he presented false information to INEC.

Earlier in the afternoon, the tribunal had struck out the argument by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) Atiku Abubakar was not qualified to contest the last presidential election because he is allegedly not a Nigerian by birth.

In its 6th ruling on Wednesday, the court said its power does not include determining the qualification of a petitioner in an election dispute.

It said its powers was to determine whether a person elected to the office of the President was validly elected and not to query the qualification of the petitioners to have contested the election, whose outcome was being queried.

The court said the APC ought to have filed a cross-petition if it sought to challenge the qualification of the 1st petitioner (Atiku) to have contested the election.

In the same vein,  the Tribunal has earlier held that the petition seeking to nullify  Buhari’s re-election was validly and competently filed.

TJustice Garba-led panel dismissed a motion dated April 25, which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) filed to challenge the competence of the petition that was lodged by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

The tribunal has gone on break and is expected to dey the substantive ruling when it reconvenes later in the day.

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