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FCT not special, INEC’s liberty on transmission… 7 major pronouncements of presidential tribunal

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INEC
INEC

After 13 hours of judgement delivery, the five-member panel of the presidential election petition tribunal upheld the victory of President Bola Tinubu in the February 25 presidential election.

The tribunal, led by Haruna Tsammani, dismissed the petitions filed by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and Allied Peoples Movement (APM), challenging Tinubu’s victory.

In a unanimous decision, the tribunal held that all petitions were “devoid of merit”.

The petitions could be divided into some cardinal points, which bordered on the conduct of the election, and issues involving the qualification of Tinubu to contest the election.

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BELOW ARE THE CARDINAL POINTS OF THE TRIBUNAL VERDICT

FCT VOTES NOT SPECIAL

The petitioners — Atiku and Obi — had told the tribunal that Tinubu failed to meet constitutional requirements for his declaration as president over his inability to secure 25 per cent of votes cast at the federal capital territory (FCT).

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In its ruling, the tribunal held that the FCT is not treated specially in the election as it is not superior to any state.

The tribunal said the interpretation of the petitioners on the 25 per cent votes in FCT is “fallacious and completely ludicrous”.

‘DUAL CITIZENSHIP’ CLAIM THROWN OUT

Atiku claimed Tinubu had dual citizenship

Atiku had told the tribunal that Tinubu ought not to have contested the election owing to the president’s “dual citizenship” of Nigeria and Guinea.

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The former vice-president made the claim in his response to Tinubu’s preliminary objection filed before the tribunal.

Ruling on the alleged dual citizenship, the tribunal said Atiku’s reply was an attempt to smuggle in fresh evidence to make up for the details his legal team failed to provide while filing the petition.

The court also held that Atiku’s claim of non-qualification stated in the main petition was vague.

“It was in their response to the respondents’ reply that they tried to smuggle in the issue of double citizenship,” the panel said.

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NO CREDIBLE EVIDENCE FOR $460K FORFEITURE, DRUG CONVICTION ALLEGATION

The petitioners also alleged that Tinubu was convicted of illicit drug trafficking in the United States in 1993 and forfeited $460,000.

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The tribunal ruled that evidence tendered by the petitioners showed that it was a civil forfeiture case.

The tribunal said the petitioners failed to adduce credible evidence to show that Tinubu was arraigned, took a plea or was sentenced or fined in any criminal suit in the US.

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SHETTIMA’S DOUBLE NOMINATION ALREADY SETTLED BY SUPREME COURT

Kashim Shettima

Vice-President Shettima

The issue of the alleged double nomination of Kashim Shettima, vice-presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), formed the basis of the petitioner’s — APM — petition.

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The tribunal ruled that it lacks the jurisdiction to hear or determine an issue bordering on the qualification or non-qualification of a candidate.

The tribunal said the alleged double nomination petition against Shettima has no substance, having been settled by the supreme court.

The tribunal held that the issue of qualification or non-qualification is a pre-election matter that should have been ventilated at the federal high court within 14 days after the conduct of a primary election.

INEC HAS LIBERTY OVER ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION OF RESULTS

The petitioners had rejected the outcome of the election over the failure of INEC to instantly upload election results to its results viewing portal (IReV).

The petitioners had claimed that INEC deliberately failed to upload election results in order to favour Tinubu.

In its judgement, the tribunal ruled that the petitioners could not establish that INEC deliberately failed to upload results to the IReV in order to manipulate the election result in favour of Tinubu.

The tribunal held that the petitioners did not prove how they were affected by the failure of INEC to electronically transmit the result.

The tribunal said INEC is at liberty to determine its mode of transmitting election results and that the electoral act did not mandate the umpire to transmit results electronically.

ATIKU, OBI FAILED TO PROVE ‘MANIPULATION OF RESULTS, OVERVOTING’

On the issue of alleged irregularities in the election, the tribunal ruled that the petitioners failed to specify the anomalies, the places where they occurred, and those affected.

The panel said the petitioners also failed to prove that their votes were suppressed by failing to specify the number of votes suppressed.

The tribunal argued that the petitioners dumped documents on the panel and that they could not tender incontrovertible evidence to support their claims.

The tribunal ruled that the information in Atiku’s reply was an attempt to smuggle in fresh evidence to make up for the details his legal team failed to provide while filing the petition.

The court also held that Atiku’s claim of non-qualification stated in the main petition was vague.

ALLEGATION OF FORGED UNIVERSITY CERTIFICATE DISMISSED

The issue of Tinubu’s alleged forged certificate from the Chicago State University (CSU) was not considered in its merit by the tribunal.

Ruling on the respondent’s preliminary objections to the petitioners’ witness statements and documents tendered in evidence, Boloukuoromo Ugo, one of the justices, dismissed the exhibit of a copy of Tinubu’s certificate tendered by Mike Enahoro-Ebah.

Mike Enahoro-Ebah appeared before the panel as one of the witnesses of Atiku. Enahoro-Ebah told the court that his lawyer in the United States of America wrote to various schools that Tinubu claimed to have attended and obtained more information about him.

However, Ugo ruled that since the witness was not the maker of the documents they could not be accepted in evidence.

Consequently, the documents were expunged from the court’s record.

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