NIGERIA’S Supreme Court has ruled that President Muhammadu Buhari was lawfully and duly elected during Nigeria’s last presidential elections on February dismissing a legal challenge from former vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
In a messy legal battle that has ensued between President Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) and Alhaji Abubakar’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the two parties have been at each other’s throats since the February presidential elections. Alhaji Abubakar lost the elections to President Muhammadu Buhari but refused to accept the result and sought legal redress before the election tribunal.
However, in September, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal dismissed Alhaji Abubakar’s case, upholding the results published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec). According to the tribunal, the PDP and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had not proven any of the grounds of the petition as known by law and consequently discarded their appeal in its entirety.
Not satisfied with the judgement, Alhaji Abubakar proceeded to the Supreme Court, where a panel seven judges, presided over by the chief justice of Nigeria Justice Tanko Mohammed ruled on his appeal. This afternoon, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed by the PDP and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, saying it lacked merit.
Today, in a unanimous judgment, the court affirmed that President Buhari was validly elected as Nigeria’s president in the 23 February presidential election. With this judgement, the legal process has come to its end and Alhaji Abubakar and the PDP will have to concede defeat, as there is nowhere else to go.
In its ruling in September, the election tribunal had dismissed Inec’s motion seeking to strike out Alhaji Abubakar’s application challenging President Buhari’s qualification as a pre-election matter. Also, the tribunal struck out the APC motion alleging that Alhaji Abubakar was a Cameroonian and affirmed subsequently that he is a Nigerian and so qualified to contest the presidential election.
Then, the tribunal dismissed part of the PDP petition alleging that the ruling APC deployed security officers to manipulate the 2019 presidential elections. It said that the PDP ought to have included the security officers allegedly involved in the petition as part of the suit.