In a unanimous ruling on October 30, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad said the panel had come to the conclusion that the appeal lacked merit.
In a unanimous ruling on October 30, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad said the panel had come to the conclusion that the appeal lacked merit.
National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu has urged the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to join hands with the ruling party in moving the nation forward.
In a statement he personally signed on Supreme Court’s affirmation of President Buhari’s re-election, Tinubu commended PDP and Atiku for their tenacious pursuit of what was their legal remedies.
In the statement entitled: “Presidential Election: Supreme Court Affirms Will of The People”, Tinubu also congratulated President Buhari and the APC on a well-deserved legal affirmation of a hard-won electoral victory.
“The rule of law conclusively affirmed the collective voice of the people by dismissing the petition filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and their presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
“The sun rose high in the Nigeria sky today to shine its light over the entire land. Atiku should now channel the energy and intellect deployed in the electoral and legal processes toward joining APC “to move this nation more rapidly and assuredly forward.”
“On February 23, the people tendered the foremost expression of their sovereign, democratic will by voting for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari. This decision and this day will be recorded as important milestones on Nigeria’s inseparable march toward perfecting democracy and the rule of law across our land,” he said.
The APC national leader commended the Supreme Court for its expeditious and highly competent treatment of this important matter.
“Democracy has been affirmed and strengthened. By its ruling, the Supreme Court also affirmed that the rule of law is paramount; that the law is to be applied objectively, without regard to fear, friend or foe. The law is the law. Nothing is to be added to it and nothing subtracted from it. No one should enjoy undue favor or suffer unjust prejudice from its application.
“In so doing, it undergirded its reputation as the highest court in the law and the ultimate guardian of the rule of law in our nation. They expect us to govern in a way that produces the shared prosperity and enlightened future they deserve. We must commit ourselves fully to this profound and august task.
“Most importantly, it is fitting to commend the people of Nigeria. You are a law-abiding and good people. You voted in peace and good faith and you awaited the judicial process in like manner. You expect nothing from government but what it ought to do for you. You are the backbone and best hope of our land. President Buhari and the APC shall work for your benefit and on your behalf in order to realize our common dream of a better nation,” Tinubu said
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has said that he fought a good fight and will not relent for Nigeria and democracy.
Atiku’s comment is coming on the heels of the dismissal of his appeal at the Supreme Court.
The apex court had earlier on Wednesday, dismissed the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential election of February 23, 2019.
Speaking on behalf of a 7-man panel, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad stated that members of the panel had read all the documents and exhibits filed in the case for about two weeks and discovered that the appeal was lacking in merit.
Reacting to the decision, Atiku said he must accept that the judicial route which he chose to take, as a Democrat, has come to a conclusion.
“While I believe that only God is infallible everywhere, and only Nigerians are infallible in our democracy, I must accept that the judicial route I chose to take, as a Democrat, has come to a conclusion.
“Whether justice was done, is left to the Nigerian people to decide. As a democrat, I fought a good fight for the Nigerian people. I will keep on fighting for Nigeria and for democracy, and also for justice.”
He stated that Nigeria as a country needs a strong judiciary and an impartial electoral umpire.
“In a democracy, you need a strong judiciary, a free press, and an impartial electoral umpire. Nigeria has none of those three elements as at today. One man, one woman, one youth, one vote, should be the only way to make gains in a democracy. And when that is thwarted, the clock starts to tick.
“The Nigerian judiciary, just like every estate of our realm, has been sabotaged and undermined by an overreaching and dictatorial cabal, who have undone almost all the democratic progress the Peoples Democratic Party and its administrations nurtured for sixteen years, up until 2015.”
Atiku insisted that he remains focused on Nigeria and he remains strong.
“To those who think they have broken my spirit, I am sorry to disappoint you. I am too focused on Nigeria to think about myself. I gave up that luxury twenty years ago. The question is not if I am broken. The question is if Nigeria is whole?
“I was a democrat, I am a democrat, and I will always continue to be a democrat. May God bless Nigeria,” he added.
Legal fireworks will on Wednesday shift to the Supreme Court where the appeal filed by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, against the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari is being challenged.
The major controversy will be issues bordering on composition of the panel of Justices to adjudicate on the appeal
There have been allegations and counter allegations by the different parties to the appeal.
The PDP had announced on its official Twitter page yesterday: “Breaking News! The Supreme Court of Nigeria has scheduled to hear the Appeal of the @OfficialPDPNig and @atiku/@PeterObi, arising from the judgment of the Appeal Court, on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. It’s time to #RescueNigeria.”
In the 66 grounds of appeal, Atiku and his political party have asked the apex court to reverse the decision of the tribunal which upheld the victory of President Buhari.
It is their contention that the tribunal erred in law in its resolution of the five issues it identified for the determination of the petition.
This is coming days after Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the PDP, and his legal team expressed worries over the delay in naming justices to preside over their appeal.
Also, the CUPP had at a press conference in Abuja, had alleged that the APC-led Federal Government has been mounting undue pressure on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, to accept a list of some persons allegedly selected to be members of the presidential election petition appeal tribunal.
Its spokesman, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, said the over 45 opposition political parties would not have confidence in a handpicked panel of justices to hear Atiku’s appeal in violation of the seniority tradition except it follows the laid down precedence.
Trouble started last June, when President Buhari directed the CJN, Justice Ibrahim Muhammad to appoint new Justices for the Supreme Court to meet the constitutional requirements of 21 justices on the bench of the Supreme Court.
The directive by the president stirred controversy especially in the camp of the opposition party and Civil society groups.
Responding to the development, an advocacy group, Access to Justice (A2Justice), described it as worrisome.
Convener of the group, Joseph Otteh, in a statement, said the process, which saw the CJN accepting the request by asking Supreme Court Justices to nominate “suitable candidates for consideration for appointment as justices of the Supreme Court” was a mockery of the judiciary.
But the Supreme Court, in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Festus Akande, said CUPP’s serial attacks on it over Atiku’s appeal would not deter it from performing its arbitration function without fear or favour. It stated that the apex court and by extension, the judiciary is an independent arm of government that can never be intimidated or dictated to by anybody.
The court said being an independent body peopled by diligent minds, it remains focused on its goal of always ensuring justice irrespective of the individuals behind any case.
But the PDP caucus in the House of Representatives to join the fray. The caucus in a statement has suggested that Justices Ibrahim Tanko, Rhodes-Vivour, Mary Odili, Sylvester Ngwuta, Olukayode Ariwoola, Musa Mohammed and Kumai Akaahs be appointed to hear and determine the appeal.
The caucus backed by the PDP leadership accused the leadership of the Supreme Court of trying to subvert the convention of selecting the most senior justices of the Supreme Court to hear and determine the appeal. They said the Supreme Court and the CJN must stick to set precedent and resist the pressure being brought to bear on him to appoint justices, who are likely to favour the ruling APC and President Buhari in deciding the appeal.
In a statement signed by Kingsley Chinda (PDP Caucus Leader), Chukwuma Onyema (deputy leader), Umar Barde (Caucus Whip) and Muraina Ajibola (deputy caucus whip), the PDP caucus said the Chief Justices of Nigeria since 1979, has set the precedent of appointing the most senior justices to hear the presidential election appeal.
They believe that the first seven senior justices should be appointed to hear the appeal and listed them to be Justices Muhammad, Justice Rhodes Vivour, Justice Mary Odili, Justice Syvester Ngwata, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, Justice Musa Mohammed and Justice Kumai Akaahs.
Meanhile, the apex court will today begin fresh hearing in an appeal filed by the Hope Democratic Party(HDP) challenging the declaration of President Buhari as winner of the February 23 presidential election.
This is sequel to a motion by the party asking the apex court to reverse itself in the judgment delivered on October 3, which dismissed its appeal. It is the contention of the party that the judgment was based on technicality rather than merit of law.
Already, the Supreme Court has issued hearing notices to parties in the matter notifying them of the October 28 date for fresh hearing.
Source: Sun News
The Supreme Court of Nigeria has fixed Wednesday, October 30, 2019, to hear the Appeal of the PDP and Atiku/Obi, arising from the judgment of the Appeal Court.
Channels Television earlier reported that Atiku and PDP had formally filed an appeal against the judgement of the presidential election petitions tribunal, at the Supreme Court.
The opposition party is challenging the judgment of the presidential election tribunal, which affirmed the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In the appeal filed by Atiku and PDP, the opposition alleged that the panel of the presidential election tribunal erred in law “when they relied on “overall interest of justice” to hold that the second Respondent’s (President Muhammadu Buhari) exhibits R1 to R26, P85, and P86 were properly admitted in evidence.”
They also alleged among other reasons that the tribunal erred in law “when they held thus: “My firm view is that Section 76 of the Electoral Act is clearly inapplicable to the issues under consideration.
“The form referred to are the form to be used in the conduct of the election as FORM CF001 had been taken care of in Section 31 of the Electoral Act and the said FORM CF001 is tied to the steps laid down in the said Section 31 of the Electoral Act.
“More importantly, the law is firmly settled that a candidate is not required by the Constitution or the Electoral Act to attach his certificates to FORM CF001 before the candidate can be considered or adjudged to have the requisite educational qualifications to contest the election.”
They also alleged that the tribunal erred in law when they held thus: “There was/is no pleadings in the Petition to the effect that 2nd Respondents failure to attach his certificates to Form CF001 amounts to lack of educational qualification to contest the election.
“In other words, the issue of failure to attach certificates which have been flogged throughout the length and breadth of the Petitioners Address (es) in Reply to 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents final written address is not the case of the Petitioner in the pleadings. No issue was joined on nonproduction of certificates or failure to attach them as an infraction of section 131, 137 and 138 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
“All submission about the failure to produce certificates or attach same to CF001 is hereby discountenanced. Even if it can be said that the submissions made are in tandem with the Petitioners Pleadings on issues 1 and 2 the fact remains that none of the facts pleaded were proved or established as required by law.”
According to them, they pleaded and proved the allegation that President Buhari gave false information of a fundamental nature to INEC in aid of his qualification.
They further stated that they also pleaded that the Nigerian Military denied that it held or was in possession of the President’s certificates. And that the failure of the president to produce his Certificates or attach same to Form CF001 in the face of unequivocal denial by the Army that his Certificates were not with them went to the root of the allegation against him that he gave false information of a fundamental nature to INEC in aid of his qualification.
Atiku and his party therefore asked the Supreme Court to set aside the judgment of the tribunal and grant the prayers sought by them.
Time line Of Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal
The proceedings of the Presidential Petition tribunal commenced on 18th of March 2019 when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar filed the petition challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23, election.
On May 8th, the tribunal commenced inaugural sitting and it was chaired by the President of the Appeal Court, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa.
The tribunal was however delayed for another three weeks following the withdrawal of Justice Bulkachuwa as chairman of the tribunal.
On June 10, 2019, the pre-trial started and ended on July 3rd under the chairmanship of Justice Mohamed Garba who took over from justice Bulkachuwa.
The main petition was heard between July 4th and August 1.
Parties in the tribunal adopted their final written addresses on August 21.
A five-man panel of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal headed by Justice Mohammed Garba reserved judgment to a date to be communicated to all the parties involved in the petition.
Dr Levi Uzoukwu, who led the petitioners’ legal team insisted in his final written address that President Buhari’s claim that he submitted his certificates to the Military Board has been controverted by the Secretary to the Military Board.
Lawyers to INEC, President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, however, urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost for lacking in merit and substance. They argued that the nation’s law only requires a candidate to be educated up to secondary school level or its equivalent.
Democracy Vanguard of Nigeria in Diaspora (DVND), an ally to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate for the 2019 general elections, Atiku Abubakar, has expressed concerns over the delay in constituting the seven-man Presidential Elections Appeal Panel.
The former vice-president’s men made known their feeling in a statement jointly signed by the Director Outreach, North America Coordinator and President of DVND, Leonard Ishiguzo, Yakubu Mohammad and Timothy Sule, respectively.
Atiku and the PDP, recently filed a 66-point of submission at the Supreme Court, challenging the judgment of Presidential Election Petition Tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba.
Miffed by the failure of the relevant authority to constitute the panel, the group alleged unholy alliance between the CJN and President Muhammadu Buhari, claiming as responsible for the delay, just as it described it as dangerous for Nigeria’s democracy.
“Reports and indications hovering in the air is that President Buhari and his train are doing everything possible, abusing the power of the office of the president to influence Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad into ‘technically delaying the constitution of the seven-man justices to preside over the case. The purpose is self-defeating.
“There are also alternative plans to jettison the historical precedents of the courts by choosing the judges according to positioning in the court to a style of staccato nomination by determining judges who will be favourable to the whims and caprices of Mr. Buhari and the APC.
“Nigeria is greater and more important than Mr President and his cabal. We call on the good people of Nigeria, the international community and the African Union to ensure that the independence of the judiciary must remain sacrosanct and inalienable. To do otherwise is to court anarchy and chaos.
“A credible, clear, crystal, conforming situation that allows the Supreme Court to function without any abysmal interference from the executive will foster law and order and will bring back the trust and confidence Nigerians have in the judiciary,” the statement read.
The group also commended Atiku Abubakar for shunning violence after the poll, stressing that his resolve to seek redress through the judiciary shows that the PDP candidate is a true democrat who loves his country than his personal ambition.
“We want to applaud Atiku Abubakar who deserves encompassing encomium for successfully stopping his electors and voters from taking the laws into their hands, which demonstrates his strong democratic principles and his belief in the judiciary.
“This is a constant, credible and compelling evidence that Atiku Abubakar is one of the most endearing and qualified candidate in the election.
“So much to say that Nigeria is obfuscating and confiscated by the Buhari dictatorship whose stock-in-trade is willful disobedience to the court orders and the harassment of Judges who they feel will deliver justice without fear or favour,” the statement read.
The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has alleged that the
President Muhammadu Buhari regime is mounting undue pressure on the
Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, to accept a list of
some persons allegedly selected to be members of the presidential
election petition appeal tribunal.
At a press conference held in Abuja on Thursday, the spokesman for
CUPP, Ikenga Ugochinyere, said the coalition would reject any moves to
handpick justices to seat on Atiku Abubakar’s appeal.
Atiku was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during
the 2019 presidential election. He had approached the Supreme Court to
appeal the judgment of the Court of Appeal which dismissed his
petition against the declaration of Buhari as the winner.
Ugochinyere said, “We have it on good authority that the APC-led
federal government has been mounting undue pressure on the Chief
Justice of Nigeria and indeed the entire court to accept a handpicked
panel and jettison the age-long tradition of the court of selecting
the most senior justices of the Supreme Court to sit on the panel.
“The disquiet and bad blood caused by the APC in the Supreme Court now
is a clear desecration of the highest temple of justice in the land.
The opposition and most Nigerians will not accept a handpicked panel,
neither will the pronouncement of such panel command the requite
respect and confidence of the people of Nigeria and we in the
He added, “The Supreme Court is supreme and its words must be for the
protection of the society and the people and the law. A grave error
was done at Appeal Court and the nation is waiting to see how a man
who violated the Electoral Act and was supposed to have been
disqualified managed to survive at the Appeal Court. That court failed
in both the issues of law and issues of national interest.”