Presidential Election: Tribunal orders service of Atiku’s petition on Buhari

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered substituted service of the petition challenging the outcome of the February 23 presidential election, on President Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari and Atiku The tribunal ordered that copies of all the legal processes should be served on Buhari through any senior officer at the national headquarters of his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Abuja. The order followed an ex-parte application that was filed by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. A three-man panel of Justices of the Court of Appeal led by Justice Abdul Aboki, granted the ex-parte motion the petitioners moved through their lawyers, Mr. Chris Uche, SAN. The petitioners are in the petition marked CA/PEPC/002/2019, praying the tribunal to invalidate the declaration of President Buhari as winner of the presidential contest. Aside INEC, President Buhari and the APC were cited as Respondents in the petition. The tribunal had earlier ordered the electoral body to grant both the petitioners and the 2nd and 3rd Respondents (Buhari and the APC), access to all the electoral materials that were deployed for the February 23 presidential poll, apart from the Smart Card Reader Machines. While Atiku and PDP maintained that they would need copies of the materials to sustain their allegation that the election was rigged, on the other hand, Buhari and the APC said they would also need the materials to prove that they legitimately won the presidential election. It will be recalled that the electoral body had on February 27, declared that Buhari won the presidential contest with 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rivalry, Atiku, who it said polled a total of 11,262,978 votes. However, in their joint petition, Atiku and his party, insisted that date they secured from INEC’s server, revealed that they defeated President Buhari with over 1.6million votes. The petitioners alleged that INEC had at various stages of the presidential election, unlawful allocated votes to President Buhari, saying they would adduce oral and documentary evidence to show that result of the election as announced by the electoral body, did not represent the lawful valid votes cast

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