At last, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party, yesterday completed the process of filing his petition against the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Atiku filed the petition, 19 days after the declaration of Buhari by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).Atiku and his party are challenging the election of Buhari and APC on the grounds of alleged massive riggings, malpractices and non-compliance substantially with the electoral laws. In the petition filed last night, Atiku is praying that he be declared winner of the February 23 presidential election.
In the alternative, the two petitioners prayed the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) to nullify the poll and ordered for a fresh election that will be conducted in lines with provisions of the electoral laws. Respondents in the suit are Buhari, APC and INEC.Although a copy of the petition, which came in several bulky volumes, cannot be obtained as at the time of filing this report, the National Legal Adviser of the PDP, Emmanuel Enoidem, confirmed to journalists at the Court of Appeal, venue of the PEPT, that the petition has been filled. Enoidem said that the PDP and its presidential candidate have already assembled a powerful legal team, comprising 20 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and other retinue of lawyers who will establish the fact of the petition.
He disclosed that over 400 witnesses have been assembled to testify during the hearing of the petition. On the order earlier granted to Atiku to inspect materials, he said that the inspection is being carried out from the polling units across the country. According to him, “We are here to present our joint petition for our party, the PDP and candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. “The petition is against the APC, President Muhammadu Buhari and INEC.
“The last day for filing the petition was actually tomorrow, but we decided to file today. “We asked that our candidate who won the election massively across the country be declared the winner of that election. “In the alternative, we also asked that the election be set aside on the grounds of irregularities which were very apparent across the country. “We have a pool of 20 SANs who are tested in election petition matters and other senior lawyers who are also working with them. “So we are very ready for the petition. The petition is well packaged. “The depositions are well put together. More than 400 witnesses are going to testify in this petition. Nigerians are at home with what happened on February 23 in this country, the sham they called election. “Of course, we are going to re-present the facts to Nigerians as the facts are already in the domain of Nigerians. We are not going to manufacture facts. “No one can do all the inspection at the same time. We have party organs, agents in all of these states, we have party leaders. “Those agents that we trained have done their best. We have got information from them and put together in that we presented in this petition.”