Atiku Abubakar, Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party

(By Iheanyi Ezinwo)- Atiku Abubakar, Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Nigeria’s February 23, 2019 election, has made good his threat by petitioning the Presidential Elections Tribunal challenging the victory of Muhammadu Buhari. Atiku is claiming that he polled 1.6 million votes  more than the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, and should therefore be declared as the rightful winner of the election.

Filling his 139- page petition on Monday in Abuja against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the first to the third respondents, respectively, Atiku and his party, the PDP, contended that “from the data in the 1st respondent’s (INEC’s) server the true, actual and correct results” from “state to state computation” showed that he polled a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari who was said to have scored 16,741,430 votes.

Atiku and the PDP argued that the results were the total votes in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, as, according to them, there was no report on server about results from Rivers State as of February 25,2019. In their petition, they also contended that President Muhammadu Buhari was not qualified to contest the election in the first place because he did not possess the educational qualification to contest the election to the office of the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The petitioners are therefore insisting that : “The 2nd respondent (Buhari) was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast at the election.

“The election of the 2nd respondent is invalid by reason of corrupt practices.

“The election of the 2nd Respondent is invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

“The 2nd respondent was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the said election.

“The 2nd respondent submitted to the 1st Respondent an affidavit containing false information of a fundamental nature in aid of his qualification for the said election.”

In sum, they want the tribunal to determine that Buhari “was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast in the said election” and therefore his declaration and return by INEC “as the President of Nigeria is unlawful, undue, null, void and of no effect”, and that Atiku, having been “duly and validly elected” ought to be “returned as President of Nigeria, having satisfied the constitutional requirement and polled the highest number of lawful votes cast at the presidential election on February 23, 2019.