The 2019 Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, the Nation’s capital resumed hearing on Monday in the suit filed by Atiku Abubakar and others challenging Muhammadu Buhari’s election victory.
As earlier reported by ORIENTAL TIMES, Justice Mohammed Garba has replaced Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa as the head of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
Recall that Justice Bulkachuwa had recused herself from the panel after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku asked her to step aside over possible bias in handling the petition.
Bulkachuwa’s husband is a Senator-elect under the All Progressives Congress (APC) and her son was a governorship aspirant under the platform of the ruling party.
Justice Garba is the presiding Justice of the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal.
At the resumed hearing today, the Presidential Tribunal struck out the 3rd Petition filed by Coalition for Change following their withdrawal.
The 1st Petition filed by Hope Democratic Party is adjourned to 13th of June due to counter motions and internal rancour displayed by the Party and its Candidate’s representatives.
The Panel has 3 petitions now pending (PDP is the 2nd), ORIENTAL TIMES understands.
The Presidential Tribunal has adjourned to Tuesday, June 11, 2019, by 9:30am.
Why I’ll Ensure Free, Fair Elections In 2023, By Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to bequeath a free and fair electoral culture when he hands over in 2023 because he is a product of a free and fair contest.
The President spoke at a dinner with members of the legal team for the 2019 presidential election petition on Thursday in Abuja.
The President, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, recounted the turnout of Nigerians during his presidential campaigns to the 36 states of the Federation in 2019 convinced him that his re-election was not a fluke.
“The number of people that turned out in every state across the country was more than anybody can buy or force.
“This gave me so much confidence and the election proved that with the votes I got.
“That is why I insist that elections must be free and fair because I am a clear successor to a free and fair election,” he said.
The President told the legal team that he was already looking forward to a peaceful hand over in 2023, stressing that he was morally bound to fulfil that wish.
“Morally I want to have a clear conscience. I swore by the Holy Book that I will abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I will continue to do my best and I hope that by 2023, I can handover quietly to whoever succeeds me and I wish him the best of luck,” he said.
The President commended the legal team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN for the outstanding legal successes recorded in the presidential election petition.
He praised the team for the effective legal strategy that thrived in piloting his election litigation.
“You creditably demonstrated a deep understanding of the law and its practices and I am indeed proud of you all.
“I am confident that by securing a convincing and unanimous legal victory at the Supreme Court you have by so doing ensured that the political mandate of the Nigerian electorate is now firmly secured,” he said.
The President added that the legal team’s enormous contributions have affirmed the rule of law and further entrenched democratic governance in Nigeria.
“This legal team is an assemblage of some of the most scholarly legal teams ever assembled in this country.
“I must note that the aforesaid legal successes recorded through your excellence have assisted me in fulfilling this government’s desire for a better Nigeria,’’ he said.
On behalf of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the President told the team to accept his commendations and best wishes for their meritorious service.
Olanipekun said the legal victory was won based on the facts of the law, stressing that the President never used his position or office to influence the decision of the Courts.
The lead counsel said: “The courts were allowed to do their job, Mr President and I must commend you for that Sir. Nobody whispered to anyone of us, how we are going to see Judge A or Judge B. That’s the way it should be. Judges must be allowed and be given free hand to do their job.
‘‘Mr President, we are happy to have been called upon and we are happy that we delivered. ’’
On electoral reforms, Olanipekun acknowledged that while the National Assembly was doing something about the Electoral Act, the Act requires some ‘‘rejigging and cleansing.’’
‘‘We are happy to know that the National Assembly is doing something about the Electoral law.
‘‘We are ready to cooperate with them without taking a dime, whether as consultants, whether as legal practitioners, whether as experts. If the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) will co-opt us we are ready to give assistance,’’ he said.
Olanipekun commended the President’s commitment to the rule of law, saying ‘‘it is the surest legacy Mr President can bequeath to our dear nation.’’
PHOTOS: Buhari Meets Security Chiefs In Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met with security chiefs at the Presidential Villa Abuja.
Present at the meeting were Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar;,Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe-Ibas; Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai; Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Gabriel Olonisakin; Minister of Defence, Bashir Magash among others.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air MarshalSadique Abubakar (R) with the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Vice-MarshalMohammed Usman briefing State House Correspondents after a security meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday
Abaribe Speaks On Ihedioha’s Removal By Supreme Court, Issues Stern Warning
Minority Leader of the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe, has urged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to despair over the Supreme Court’s ruling that removed erstwhile Governor of Imo State, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.
Abaribe, in a statement by his media aide, Uchenna Awom in Abuja, said: “This is not the time for blame game as this dark hour will surely pass away.”
He, however, bemoaned the outcome of the judgement and said the ruling be taken in good faith in deference to the protection of the sanctity of institutions of governance.
The Senate Minority Leader warned of an imminent weakening of some critical agencies of democracy, particularly with the acceptance of unit results from sources other than the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) certified results, without calling unit witnesses “as already established by the same Supreme Court in a similar case involving former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar recently.
“What it means is that results from security agencies like Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Army, Navy and even community ones like Hisba, JTF et al, will be more sacrosanct and acceptable than the official INEC’s tabulation”, Abaribe added.
He said the painful outcome of the legal process has again raised poignant questions that should ignite serious calls for total reforms of the electoral and governance structures in Nigeria.
The stark reality in the circumstance Abaribe added is that the Apex Court is the final arbiter and it’s decisions must be respected at all times.
Nonetheless, the Minority Leader lamented the contradictions in the final analysis, especially when the statistics of who-got-what in the State Assembly among the various political parties is put side by side with the result that was recorded same day with the gubernatorial election.
“How many House of Assembly members in Imo State did APC produce in the Election that was held on the same day as this governorship election in question? Can someone refresh us…? PDP won 13 seats, AA 8, APGA 6, and APC won 0 seat out of a total 27 seats.
“And now by this Judgement the APC that did not win any seat in the House of Assembly in the Election that was held and collated the same day ..won the Imo State Governorship Election at the Supreme Court. APC should not gloat.
“These are times that make hearts and wills falter. But as the Holy book says …this too shall pass away. For our friend and brother Emeka Ihedioha, courage is the name. This will also pass away.
“Your valedictory speech is heartwarming. It shows that there will be a rosy tomorrow from today’s despondency. For all of us in the PDP this is not a time for blames. When men are bent on evil, they will not stop, but ultimately the will of the people shall prevail,” he said