Some details of the petition filed on Monday by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate in the February 23 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to challenge the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress, emerged on Tuesday.
The petition, which sought to rely on 50 sets of documents, was filed before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja against the Independent National Electoral Commission, Buhari and the APC as the first to the third respondents, respectively.
INEC had on February 27, 2019 declared that Buhari won the election with 15,191,847 votes to defeat Atiku, whom it said polled 11,262,978 votes.
But the petitioners stated in their 139-page petition that “from the data in the 1st respondent’s (INEC’s) server…the true, actual and correct results” from “state to state computation” showed that Atiku polled a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari whom they said scored 16,741,430 votes.
They said the results were the total votes scored by the candidates in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, as there was “no report on sever” about the results from Rivers State as of February 25, 2019.
By this, Atiku claims to have defeated Buhari with 1,615,302 votes. One of the five grounds of the petition also tends to resuscitate the allegation that Buhari was not qualified to run for the office of the President on the grounds that he did not possess the constitutional minimum qualification of a school certificate.
The five grounds of the petition read, “The 2nd respondent (Buhari) was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast at the election.
“The election of the 2nd respondent is invalid by reason of corrupt practices.
“The election of the 2nd Respondent is invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
“The 2nd respondent was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the said election.
“The 2nd respondent submitted to the 1st Respondent an affidavit containing false information of a fundamental nature in aid of his qualification for the said election.”
Arguing that Buhari was not qualified to run for the office of the President, the petitioners argued in part, “The petitioners state that the 2nd respondent (Buhari) does not possess the educational qualification to contest the election to the office of the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The petitioners state that by Section 31 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), every political party shall not later than 60 days before the date appointed for a general election submit to the Commission in the prescribed form the list of the candidates the party proposes to sponsor at the elections.
“Further, by Section 31(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), the list or information submitted by each candidate shall be accompanied by an affidavit sworn to by the candidate at the Federal High Court, High Court of a State or Federal Capital Territory indicating that he has fulfilled all the constitutional requirements for election into that office.
“The 2nd respondent filled and submitted Form CF001 to the 1st Respondent, which was declared before the Commissioner for Oaths at the Registry of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on the 8th day of October, 2018. The said Form CF001 is accompanied by an ACKNOWLEDGEMENT indicating that the 1st Respondent received same.
“The petitioners aver that the said Form CF001 filled by the 2nd Respondent and submitted to the 1st Respondent for the Office of President was also accompanied by the Curriculum Vitae of the 2nd Respondent as well as GENERAL FORM OF AFFIDAVIT duly sworn to by the 2nd respondent at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, along with copies of his Membership Card of the 3rd Respondent and Voter Card.
“The information submitted to the 1st respondent (INEC) by the 2nd respondent (Buhari) is false and of a fundamental nature in aid of his education qualification, notwithstanding that he had declared in the said sworn affidavit as follows: ‘I hereby declare that all the answers, facts and particulars I have given in this Form, are true and correct and I have to the best of my knowledge, fulfilled all the requirements for qualifications for the office I am seeking to be elected’.”