PDP, Atiku appeal tribunal’s ruling at Supreme Court, caution against elevation of judges

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FILES] Candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar. Pius Utomi EKPEI / AFP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the February 23, 2019 Presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, have filed an appeal at the Supreme Court seeking to upturn the September 11 Appeal Court verdict on the petition.

In the alternative, they are seeking an order or declaration that the election to the office of the President of Nigeria conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which is the first respondent on February 23 be nullified and a fresh election conducted.

Respondents in the matter include INEC (first respondent), President Muhammadu Buhari (second respondent) and the All Progressives Congress (third respondent).

One of the grounds of appeal is that the justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law when they relied on “overall interest of justice” to hold that the second respondent’s exhibits R1 to R26, P85 and P86, were properly admitted as evidences.

Another ground for appeal stated that learned justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law when they held that “My firm view is that Section 76 of the Electoral Act is clearly inapplicable to the issues under consideration.

“Form CF001 had been taken care of in Section 31 of the Electoral Act and the said Form CF001 is tied to the steps laid down in the Section 31 of the Electoral Act, among other prayers.

Meanwhile, the PDP has cautioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad against elevating the three judges who participated in the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal suit filed by its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to the Supreme Court.

Atiku had appealed declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of 2019 presidential elections.Media and Publicity Secretary of Atiku Presidential Campaign Council, Okoli Akilika, who stated this in Awka, Anambra State yesterday, alleged that three of the five-man panel that dismissed Atiku’s petition had been selected for elevation to the Supreme Court.

“This is because if we follow events consequent upon the delivery of the Court of Appeal judgment, it begins to worry the ordinary mind that barely 10 days after delivering the Atiku-Buhari judgment, three of the five justices were being selected to the highest court in the country.

“One thing is clear. First, selection may have been merited and justified, and second, the selection may not have been unmerited and therefore unjustified.“When these two suppositions are subjected to the test of reason, one may safely conclude that the three justices, having also been recommended for elevation after delivering judgment in the tribunal, there was a pre-meditated scheme to appoint them into the panel and thereafter be elevated to the Supreme Court,” he said.

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