Buhari’s Election: Atiku Goes to Appeal Court, Applies to Inspect INEC Register
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23, presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his party formally kick-started their petition challenging the conduct and outcome of the election which produced President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for a second term of four years.
Atiku kick-started the petition with an ex-parte motion filed at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, asking for various orders of the court to allow him access all documents used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the conduct of the pool.
The ex-parte motion is praying for an order compelling INEC to allow them Inspect the register and other vital documents used in the conduct of the election unhindered.
In the ex-parte motion dated March 4 and filed March 5, Atiku and the PDP applied that the Appellate Court serving as the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to compel the electoral body to allow their agents to scan and make photocopies of vital documents used in the last presidential election for the purpose of maintaining their petition against the election.
The ex-parte application filed by a legal luminary, Chief Chris Uche SAN, has INEC, President Muhamadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) as respondents.
Specifically, the ex-parte motion indicated that the order requested against INEC is for the purpose of filing and maintaining election petition before the tribunal.
The ex-parte motion according to our findings is supported with a 12 paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Colonel Austin Akobundu (Rtd.), a Director of Contact and Mobilization in the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Council.
Meanwhile, no date has yet been fixed for hearing of the motion.
When our Correspondent visited the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division serving as the presidential election petition tribunal, a functional registry and Secretariat have been opened for the purpose of receiving Petitions from aggrieved presidential candidates against the last presidential election.
Atiku and PDP who scored over 11m votes to come second in the February 23 presidential election as against the over 15m votes declared by INEC for Buhari and APC have indicated their desire to challenge the conduct and outcome of the election at the tribunal on the grounds that the poll was heavily manipulated and rigged for the declared winners.
Specifically, the grouse of Atiku and PDP was that the results collated by them from polling units across the country were quite different from those recorded for the declared winners by INEC.
Meanwhile, the President Muhammadu Buhari campaign council has said that it is not opposed to the decision of the PDP candidate in the last presidential poll Alhaji Atiku Abubakar from seeking redress in the law court.
A Press statement by the spokesperson for the council Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN read in part; “Our attention has been drawn to some news item and posts on social media reporting that we wrote a letter to some international bodies to prevail on Alhaji Atiku Abubakar not to proceed to court to challenge the result of the 2019 Presidential Election.
“Our investigation reveals that a letter to that effect was purportedly written by a certain ‘Buhari Campaign Organisation’.
“This is the second time we will be informing the public that the said ‘Buhari Campaign Organisation’ does not act at the behest of the APC Presidential Campaign Council nor does it represent the Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation in any way.
“As a result, whatever it has released does not represent the position of the APC presidential campaign council or President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Our official position is that we believe that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has a constitutional right to seek redress in court and we do not seek in any way to curtail that right.
“In fact, it is the resort to court that is the only democratic way to ventilate his perceived grievance and any attempt to restrict or discourage the exercise of such right would be an invitation to anarchy.
“In addition, we are very anxious to meet Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in court in order to show the world in a conclusive manner the free and fair nature of the comprehensive defeat of Atiku at the polls. An election is not termed ‘rigged’ only by the mere claim of it by the loser.
That is what Atiku and the PDP want to ram down our throats. Unfortunately for them, international, continental and sub-regional observers (who can be seen as neutral by all standards) ALL declared the election to be free, fair and credible. No ego-massaging narrative can change that.
“We therefore totally disassociate ourselves from the letter purportedly written by one of, perhaps, many support groups of President Muhammadu Buhari. They may have a right to their opinion, but it does not represent our official position.