Why Supreme Court dismissed Atiku, PDP Suit –
The Supreme Court today gave the reason it dismiss the People Democratic Party PDP and it’s Candidate Abubakar Atiku.
The Supreme Court held that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were not able to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC had a server and that it transmitted election results electronically.
The apex court stated this while giving its reasons for dismissing the appeal by the PDP and Atiku.
The court held that the PDP and Atiku were wrong to have relied on results to get from a website: www.factsdontlieng.com., whose owner they could not establish, to claim to have won the election.
Justice Inyang Okoro, the lead judge, said, “I agree entirely with the court below that the appellants failed to prove that INEC has the server from which they got their figures.
“As a result, all the results, calculations, and analysis based on the results claimed are of no moment.”
The court resolved issue 3 against the appellant.
The apex court also resolved issue 4 against irregularity and corrupt practices against the appellants.
The 5th issue was also resolved against the appellant, which relates to the admission of some documents tendered by the respondents to the petition before the lower court.
The Supreme Court proceeded to dismiss the appeal after resolving all the five issues determined against the appellants.
Buhari does not need certificate to be president -Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on Friday held that President Muhammadu Buhari was right not to have submitted his academic credentials to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The apex court stated this while giving a reason for dismissing the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
According to the court, Buhari was eminently qualified to contest the last presidential election.
The court held that contrary to claim by the appellants, no law requires a candidate to submit his/her academic certificates to the electoral umpire before being allowed to contest the election.
The Supreme Court also held that the constitution does not require one to possess a secondary school certificate to be qualified to run for the presidency.
It added that schooling up to secondary school, without possessing the result of the final examination was sufficient.
The Supreme Court further explained that Buhari did not only show that he has a secondary certificate and rose to the rank of Major General in the Army, attended military training, became the nation’s Head of State, could communicate in English and possessed a primary school leaving certificate, all to the satisfaction of INEC.
The three-man panel of the court upheld the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, on the issues of Buhari’s qualification and possession of relevant certificates.
The apex court resolved issues 1 and 2 against the PDP and Atiku.
While stating its reasons on Friday, the Supreme Court said there were two main issues seeking interpretation regarding the PDP’s petition.
The court said the first issue bothered on an alleged non-compliance to the Electoral Act, while the second issue related to the question of whether or not Mr Buhari qualified to take part in the election.
Regarding the allegations of non-compliance, the court said the PDP had a responsibility, not only to provide witnesses but to do so sufficiently to support its allegations.
“The appellant cannot just call witnesses. He has to call witnesses who are eyewitnesses and he may have to call 250, 000 witnesses,” said Justice John Okoro who joined two other panelists to explain the court’s decision.
As agreed by parties at the tribunal, the PDP was given 10 days to call its witnesses, while the other parties had six days each to do the same.
The PDP called 62 witnesses before closing its case on July 19.
The petitioners had 180 days from the date of filing its petition to have all the complaints heard and a judgement reached at the tribunal.
In deciding on the allegation against Mr Buhari’s educational qualifications, Justice Okoro said the issue was a constitutional matter and added that Section 131 (d) of the constitution only requires that a candidate vying for the position of president should be “educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.”
Mr Okoro read through Section 318 of the Constitution to further explain the meaning of “school certificate or its equivalent’.
This include: secondary School Certificate or its equivalent, or Grade II Teacher’s Certificate, the City and Guilds Certificate; education up to Secondary School Certificate level; Primary Six School Leaving Certificate or its equivalent and -service in the public or private sector in the Federation in any capacity acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for a minimum of ten years.”
He said the law also allows a candidate who has attended “courses and training in such institutions as may be acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for periods totalling up to a minimum of one year, or has the ability to read, write, understand and communicate in the English language to the satisfaction of the Independent National Electoral Commission to participate in the elections, as well as a person who possesses any other qualification acceptable by the Independent National Electoral Commission,” according to the same section 318.
“A person is not expected to have all the qualifications. Possession of one of the certificates will suffice,” he said.
“The court was right to hold that the second respondent was eminently qualified to contest election. The admission by the appellants witnesses that Buhari rose to the head of the military and served as military president were compelling enough to help the lower court reach its verdict,” Mr Okoro said.
Mr Okoro said the apex court and the Court of Appeal had at various times decided on the issue of educational qualification of a candidate and that the current decision was made in line with previous decisions.
The court also said the PDP had the duty of proving that the documents tendered in court regarding Mr Buhari’s qualification were false since that was part of their claim.
Mr Okoro said the failure of the PDP to obtain a subpoena for the presentation of the secretary of the military board at the tribunal was flawed.
“The fact remains that the petitioners failed to call former the former director army public relations, Brigadier General Olajide Olaleye, to testify,” Mr Okoro added.
“What the petitioners did was tendering the documents on the bar, with no one to authenticate it,” Mr Okoro said.
On the contention that Mr Buhari failed to attach his certificate to the form CF001, Mr Okoro said: “Neither the constitution nor the electoral act requires that a candidate must attach his certificate to the form CF001 before he can participate in an election.”