Buhari and Atiku

Atiku Vs Buhari: Supreme Court Fixes Date For Hearing Presidential Elections

The Supreme Court of Nigeria has scheduled to hear the Appeal of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and its candidate in the February 23 election, Atiku Abubakar, arising from the judgment of the Appeal Court, on Wednesday, October 30, 2019.

The PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, said the Court of Appeal panel that heard their petition erred in law when it ruled that President Buhari did not need to submit an actual certificate before INEC as part of documents in his CF001.

The PDP also said the presidential tribunal erred when it ruled that the PDP did not provide sufficient evidence to back its claim that Mr Buhari did not attend a secondary school among other issues.

But in a counter application filed on Tuesday, the APC asked the Supreme Court to reconsider the decision of the election tribunal to accept evidence proffered by the prosecution witness numbers 40, 59 and 60.

APC in Abuja filed a cross-appeal against admission of the report and evidence of the three data analysts who testified for the petitioners at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal and whose evidence was admitted by the tribunal in the interest of natural justice.

The party in the cross appeal filed by its lead counsel, Prince Lateef Olasunkanmi Fagbemi SAN, wants the Supreme Court to expunge the evidence of the three Information Communication and Technology (ICT) experts who testified on the existence of server allegedly used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to store results of the February 23 presidential election.

The three key witnesses are Segun Sowunmi, a Media Aide to Atiku, David Njoga, a Kenyan and Joseph Gbenga who are famous data analysts and employed by Atiku to carry out forensic analysis of the presidential election results.

They had in their testimony informed the tribunal that they analyzed presidential election results state by state and found discrepancies in the results credited to Atiku and President Muhammadu Buhari.

Specifically the three data analysts alleged that in the results sheets they analyzed the votes of Atiku were deliberately depleted while that of Buhari and APC were inflated.

The Kenyan expert in his evidence specifically insisted that INEC used the server which he claimed to have penetrated to obtain the alleged authentic results of the February 23 presidential election which ran counter to the one declared by the electoral body.

But Fagbemi in the cross appeal pleaded with the Supreme Court for an order setting aside the evidence of the three witnesses and the documents including video clips tendered through them from the bar.

Fagbemi also wants the apex court to out rightly expunge their testimonies and documents from the record of the court for being inadmissible in law.

The APC argued that the tribunal erred in law when it held that the evidence and the documents of the three witnesses were considered in the interest of natural justice.

Fagbemi submitted that the decision of the tribunal on the point was untenable on the grounds that the issue of admissibility or otherwise of a document is a point of law and not natural justice as erroneously held by the tribunal.

Besides, the senior counsel also sought order of the apex court to strike out Atiku’s allegations of electoral malpractices in 10 states of the federation on the grounds that the allegations of the electoral fraud were vague and not specific as required by law.

The counsel said that the petitioners did not state the specific polling units were the alleged fraud were committed, hence they must be expunged for lacking in merit that can warrant the tribunal to look into them.

Atiku had on September 23 filed a 66 grounds of appeal upon which he predicated his prayers for setting aside the whole decision of the presidential election petition tribunal which upheld the declaration of Buhari as winner of the February 23 presidential election.

The PDP candidate specifically faulted the decision of the Justice Mohammed Garba led panel which held that Buhari did not need to attach his academic certificates to the INEC’s form CF 001 before he can stand for the presidential election.

Meanwhile. the date has been fixed for the hearing of the appeals on Wednesday, October 30.

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