The case against the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari began in Abuja yesterday.
The case was filed by Buhari’s main challenger in the election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the PDP.
The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal is headed by President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa.
Atiku, and his party, the PDP in their petitions are seeking the nullification of Buhari’s victory at the Feb. 23 presidential poll over allegations of widespread rigging, violations of the Electoral Act, suppression of voters, violence amongst other electoral malpractices.
There are also four other petitions before the tribunal filed by Ambrose Owuru of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP); Geff Chizee Ojinka of the Coalition for Change (CC); and Aminchi Habu of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) all challenging Buhari’s reelection.
However, Buhari’s lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), asked the tribunal to first determine his preliminary objection seeking to dismiss the petition by PDP and its candidate at the prehearing stage.
“We filed our reply on 16h April 2019 and we also filed our motion including preliminary objections. We argued that the preliminary objection be set down for hearing during the pre-trial,” he said.
Buhari in the objection asked the court to dismiss Atiku’s claim that he lacked the qualification to be president on the grounds that by virtue of Section 31(5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), “it is the Federal High Court or of a State that has jurisdiction to adjudicate on the grounds/complaints contained therein.”