The appeal that a former vice president and candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, filed to invalidate President Bola Tinubu’s election was heard by the Presidential Election Appeal Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja on Tuesday.
After the parties adopted their final argument papers, the five-member panel, presided over by Justice Haruna Tsammani, gave the case the green light for judgment.
Through a group of attorneys led by Chief Chris Uche, SAN, Atiku and the PDP petitioned the court to rule that President Tinubu lacked the necessary qualifications to run in the February 25 presidential election.
Alternately, the Petitioners sought the court to declare the entire result of the presidential election invalid and to call for a new election.
Atiku and his party claimed that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, deliberately disregarded all the technological advancements it put in place for the 2023 general elections despite receiving over N355 billion for the conduct of the election.
They said that when INEC declined to electronically submit the results of the presidential election, it violated the modified Electoral Act.
“On the issue of transmission of election results based on new provisions in the Electoral Act, we are all in agreement, including the INEC, that there is a new regime in election management.
“The essence of the innovation was to enhance transparency in the collation of results, which was an area that we usually had problems and not the actual election, and secondly, to enhance the integrity of result declared.
“We agree that INEC had an option and we brought a video evidence by INEC Chairman showing that the electoral body indeed chose an option.
“It is our contention and it is here in evidence that witnesses admitted that results from the National Assembly election were transmitted but that of the presidential election was not.
“A whopping N355bn was deployed for the election, therefore, INEC owe this court and the nation an explanation.
“It is our submission that there was no technical glitch on the election day, rather, there was a deliberate bypass of the technology in order to create room for the manipulation that eventually took place.
“Until the court makes a judicial pronouncement, there may not be compliance to express provisions of the new regime of the Electoral Act.
“My lords, Imin a situation like this, the burden shifts on INEC to explain. It is not on the Petitioner to explain why there was such a technical glitch.
“We urge this court to hold that there was a deliberate non-compliance. The substantiality of the non-compliance lies on the national spread of the non transmission of results. It was national and not limited to certain polling units,” Uche, SAN, added.