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Atiku cannot file petition against PMB says Igbinedion

As the deadline approaches, a Nigerian lawyer, Mr Dele Igbinedion has said that the PDP presidential candidate in the 2019 elections Mr Atiku Abubakar may not file a petition at the Presidential tribunal.

He said this is because as the time allowed for the filing of such a petition which is Tuesday next week, draw near, there are no indications that Atiku had such plans.

“With just a few days left, can Atiku Abubakar, even if he has all the lawyers in Nigeria working on his case, inspect all the voter’s registers and all the election materials used in all the polling units, in all the wards, in all the local government councils, in all the states of the Federation, on or before the deadline of Tuesday 19th March 2019? I think not”.

He said that whereas there was jubilation among APC supporters that Atiku will follow up on his promise after he and others failed to congratulate PMB on his electoral victory, hopes of the miracle petition has dampened.

“But the bravado with which Atiku Abubakar made the announcement seemed to have immediately given way to a grim realisation that he could not file the Petition because he had no evidence to prove his claim of having won the election”.

According to the lawyer, “On 23rd of February 2019, Nigerians elected President Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressive Congress, as President of Nigeria. The President resoundingly defeated his closest opponent, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, of the Peoples Democratic Party, by more than Four Million Votes.

“The redoubtable President not only scored the highest votes, but he almost effortlessly achieved the constitutionally required geographical spread of votes to win convincingly.

“Consequently, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared President Buhari duly re-elected as President for another Four year term on Wednesday 27th of February 2019”.

Mr Igbinedion said, “Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, one Mr. Sowore, Moghalu, Durotoye and other Presidential candidates of a motley of incongruous mushroom political parties, did not congratulate the re-elected President.

“On the contrary, Atiku Abubakar announced, with relish that he will be challenging the results in the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. That was not all. Atiku Abubakar akso inaugurated a team of lawyers to put the case together and file the miracle Petition that will make him Nigeria’s President”.

He submitted, “Ordinarily, the way to prove one’s case is to present admissible evidence. You can produce copies of documents and give notice to the Defendant to produce the originals. Alternatively, a Petitioner can apply for certified true copies of the documents required to prove his case. But, for some indecipherable reasons, none of the above options seemed helpful.

” So, Atiku Abubakar embarked on the proverbial voyage of discovery in other to seek for evidence. His strategy consisted of applying to the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal for an order to compel INEC to allow him to inspect all the Voters Registers and other materials used in conducting the election across the country. He got his order. But till date, that strategy does not seem to have produced the result which Atiku Abubakar desired”.

Igbinedion argued that:

“A. Atiku Abubakar having to inspect, or shall we say, study, all the voter’s registers and all the election materials used in all the polling units, in all the political wards, in all the local government councils and in all the States plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

B. Identify which out of all these documents will aid Atiku Abubakar to prove that President Buhari or any person acting at his behest rigged the elections.

C. Note that where there is an allegation of rigging, the details of the rigger must be provided. In fact, such a person must ne made a party and served with the documents containing the allegation. Otherwise, the allegation will be struck out for being unacceptable and inadmissible by the Tribunal. The legal ground is that it is unfair to make criminal allegations against a person who is not made a party to the proceedings to enable him defend himself. You must join such person to the case, otherwise the case will self destruct.

D. After identifying the specific documents that he will use to prove his Petition, Atiku Abubakar will then apply to INEC to certify the said documents.

E. Thereafter, Atiku Abubakar will use the documents provided by INEC to file his Petition”.

All the above he said, are the reasons, “Why Atiku Abubakar has an uphill, nay, a mountain climb, task to gather evidence to enable him file a cognizable Petition that will have any prospect of dislodging President Buhari.

The lawyer declared that INEC declared President Muhammadu Buhari duly elected on 27th February 2019 and by the Electoral Law, Atiku Abubakar has 21 days commencing from (and including) the said 27th February 2019 to file his Petition. By the most permissive and robust calculation, Atiku Abubakar has till Tuesday the 19th of March 2019 to file his Petition.

” Till date, and to the best of my knowledge, Atiku Abubakar has not commenced the arduous process of inspecting the INEC election materials, not to talk of filing an election Petition. What he filed in the Tribunal in the early days in March 2019 was a mere ex parte motion”.

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