President Muhammadu Buhari has questioned the powers of the tribunal to nullify his election victory at the poll, contending that the joint petition Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) entered against him was incompetent as it was based on conjectures.
The President also insisted that the reliefs that the petitioners are seeking from the tribunal were “vague, nebulous and lacking in specificity.”
Buhari argued that most of the issues and grounds of the petition were not only “mutually exclusive”, but also outside the jurisdiction of the tribunal.
The President contended that by virtue of section 31(5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, only the Federal High Court or High Court of a State has jurisdiction to adjudicate on some the issues, among which included the allegation that he was bereft of the requisite educational qualification.
More so, Buhari argued that the alternative relief in the petition seeking a fresh election, was inconsistent with relief 409(a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) of the same petition, saying, “thus, all the reliefs in the petition are liable to be struck out.
“The entire reliefs are not justiciable, as the petitioners who claim to have scored majority of lawful votes in substantial number of States are also questioning their own return in those States; the petitioners cannot act as petitioners and respondents in the same petition.
“By the petitioners’ pleadings, they claim to have majority of votes cast at the election in Rivers State, Bayelsa State, Akwa Ibom State. Enugu State. Ebonyi State. Abin State Imo State. Delta State. Cross River State, Edo State, Anambra State, 0ndo State, Oyo State, Benue State, Plateau State, Adamawa State, Taraba State, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; yet, they seek an alternative and incongruous relief that the presidential election of 23rd February 2019, be nullified and a fresh election ordered, without first praying for the nullification of election in the States where they claim to have won.”
Buhari argued that all portions of the petition relating to the use of Card Reader Device are liable to be struck out, same being incompetent and not rooted in any existing legislation.
The President equally argued that every aspect of the petition grounded on or relating to electronic data purportedly retrieved or downloaded from INEC’s server, are also liable to be struck out, “same being incompetent and not rooted in any existing legislation”.
“That there were no incidences of corrupt practices at the election of 23rd February, 20l9, as alleged by the Petitioners; and that the declaration and return of the respondent President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is valid and in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution, the Electoral Act, and all other Laws, Rules, Guidelines and Regulations, regulating the election.
“That the election of the respondent as the elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is valid and was conducted in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
“Contrary to paragraph 17 of the petition, the respondent states that the petitioners scored a total of 11,262,978 votes, trailing far behind the respondent who scored a total of 15,191,847 votes, with a margin of 3.328.869 votes”.