The 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has accused the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) of ridiculing him when it upheld the victory of President Bola Tinubu.
Recall that the Tribunal, on September 6, 2023, dismissed the petitions filed by the former Vice President and the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, for lack of merit.
But the PDP presidential candidate, through his lead counsel, Chris Uche (SAN), has filed an appeal before the Supreme Court to challenge the judgement of the tribunal.
In his appeal, Atiku claimed that disparaging words were used by the tribunal when it upheld Tinubu’s victory, which he said were signs that it was biased against him and his party.
The former vice president stated that the choice of words and expressions by the tribunal shows its contempt and disdain for him and the PDP.
Atiku added that it is guaranteed under the law for a candidate to file a petition against the outcome of an election he is not comfortable with.
The appeal reads: “The justices in their verdicts, while discountenancing the arguments and contentions of the appellants, used expressions such as ‘ludicrous’ (page 721 of the judgment), ‘clever by half’ (page 557 of the judgment), ‘dishonourable practice’ (page 507 of the judgment), ‘smuggle’ (page 557), ‘fallacious’ (page 721 of the judgment); ‘foul play’ (page 560 of the judgment), ‘cross the line of misconception’ (page 644 of the judgment); ‘collect evidence from the market’ (page 765 of the judgment); ‘those who are not used to reading preambles’ (page 726 of the judgment); ‘hollowness in the argument of the petitioners’ (page 727 of the judgment); etc.
“It is the position of the appellants that the choice of words and expressions by the lower court shows the lower court’s contempt and disdain for the appellants.”
He said the tribunal failed to take into cognisance the “doctrine of legitimate expectation”, which he noted is a reason the verdict affirming Tinubu’s victory should be overturned.
The PDP flagbearer argued that the alleged non-compliance by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with the electoral act is another reason the verdict should be nullified.
The appeal added: “The lower court erred in law when it failed to nullify the presidential election held on February 25, 2023, on the ground of noncompliance with the Electoral Act 2022, when by evidence before the court, the 1st respondent (INEC) conducted the election based on very grave and gross misrepresentation contrary to the principles of the Electoral Act 2022, based on the ‘doctrine of legitimate expectation’.
“The 1st Respondent neither deployed the electronic transmission of election results nor the electronic collation system in the said election, sabotaging the raison d’etre for the enactment of the new Electoral Act 2022 and the introduction of the technological innovations.
“Rather than hold the 1st respondent (INEC) as a public institution accountable to the representations that it made pursuant to its statutory and constitutional duties, which created a legitimate expectation on the part of the appellants, the lower court wrongly exonerated the 1st respondent of any responsibility by holding that the use of the technological innovations to guarantee transparency was not mandatory.”
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