President Bola Tinubu has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss an appeal the 2023 candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, filed to nullify his election.
Tinubu, in a 42-paged brief of argument filed through his team of 17 lawyers, comprising 10 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, urged the apex court to affirm what he termed as a “well-considered decision of the Court of Appeal,” which, while sitting as the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, on September 6, dismissed the joint petition Atiku and his party entered against him.
While insisting that he was validly returned by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as winner of the February 25 presidential poll, Tinubu told the apex court that by statistics, he garnered 25% of the total votes cast in 29 states of the federation.
He told the court that the former Vice President and the PDP only managed to secure 25% of the total votes in 21 states of the federation “as against the constitutional requirement of 24.7 states, which is the mathematical results of two-thirds of the 36 states of the federation and the FCT (making 37).
Tinubu maintained that having secured the highest number of valid votes cast and having fulfilled all constitutional requirements in that regard, INEC had no option than to declare him as the winner of the presidential contest.
He told the court that Atiku and the PDP, dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, on March 21, approached the PEPC “on trumped-up allegations of non-compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, corrupt practices, non-scoring of majority of lawful votes cast at the election and non-qualification of the Respondent.”
According to President Tinubu, “the hyperbolic character of the foregoing allegations was exposed by the petition itself, which had no facts in support thereof.
“Starting from the allegation of non-qualification of the Respondent, all that the Appellants submitted to the lower court through their petition was that the 2nd Respondent (Tinubu) was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the election, not having the constitutional threshold.”
He told the Supreme Court that Atiku and his party failed to explain what they meant by “constitutional threshold” till all the Respondents in the matter were done with filing of their replies to the petition.
“It was at this point they rolled out their drums of cooked-up allegations of discrepancies in the 2nd Respondent’s academic qualifications, dual nationality and sundry bemusing allegations from the back door.
“While they also claimed to have won the highest number of votes cast at the election, as against INEC’s declaration, throughout their petition, they did not suggest an alternative score which they considered correct, whether for themselves or the Respondent.
President Tinubu told the apex court that whereas Atiku raised issue of non-transmission of results, all the witnesses he brought before the PEPC, “agreed that the election went very smoothly, where INEC complied with all the prescribed procedures.”
He, therefore, urged the Supreme Court to dismiss Atiku’s appeal as lacking in merit and to affirm the election and return of the Respondent by INEC as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having scored highest number of lawful votes cast and fulfilling all constitutional requirements.”