Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, and his party has insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari was not qualified to have contested the poll and as such, should be disqualified by the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.
The petitioners in their final address to the Tribunal insisted that they have proved all allegations contained in their petition against the conduct of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In a 43-page final address filed by their lead counsel and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dr Levy Uzoukwu, Atiku and PDP claimed to have established the fact that Buhari does not possess the requisite academic qualification for the position of President of Nigeria.
The petitioners said even President Buhari’s own witnesses, under cross-examination, admitted to the fact that Buhari does not possess a school certificate, being the basic requirements for contesting for the office of the president.
“We, therefore, submit that all the purported evidence led by the second respondent (Buhari) to prove that he attended a secondary school or a primary school, or that he attended some courses, is irrelevant because he did not rely on any of those purported qualifications in exhibit P1; he relied on primary school certificate, WASC and Officer Cadet,” the petitioners said.
“Equally futile is his attempt to prove that he can speak and write in the English language. That is all irrelevant to his inability to produce his primary school certificate, secondary school certificate or WASC and his Officer Cadet qualification, whatever that means. Officer Cadet is not a qualification or certificate under the Constitution and Electoral Act; nor is it known to any law.”
On the Cambridge University certificate tendered by the President before the Tribunal, the petitioners asked why, “It was easier for Buhari to go all the way to Cambridge in the United Kingdom to obtain bogus documents that his own witnesses said was not a certificate, instead of just driving down the street in Abuja to the Army Headquarters or placing a phone call to the Secretary of the Military Board in Abuja to hurry over with his certificate or certificates?”
They also submitted, “A comparison of the purported Cambridge Assessment International Education Certifying Statement of the purported West African Examination Council (WAEC) certificate and a certified true copy of the purported confidential result sheet of the University of Cambridge West African School Certificate of 1961 for the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina reveals many discrepancies in the suppose result.
“One listed eight subjects that the candidate therein mentioned one ‘Mohamed Buhari’ allegedly sat for, the other six subjects. Both documents are, therefore, unreliable as both cannot be correct. The contradiction must count against the second respondent.
Another claim by Buhari, according to the petitioners, is false is that he attended, “Elementary School, Daura and Mai Aduwa 1948-52.”
They said, “Elementary School Daura is totally different from Mai Aduwa, their locations are totally different. He also claimed he entered Middle School Katsina in 1953.”
The petitioners submitted that by 1953, the Middle School system had been abolished in the northern region of the country.
On the claim that his certificates were with the military, the petitioners submitted that the President failed woefully to prove the claim, “rather the petitioners’ evidence to the contrary was neither contested nor challenged.”
It is also the case of the petitioners that they have successfully proved that the Nigerian Army had denied being in possession of President Buhari’s certificates.
“One of the strongest evidence on the issue was given by the second respondent’s own witness, RW1, General Paul Tafa, (Rtd), who under cross-examination by the first respondent (INEC), told the court firmly and unequivocally that the army did not collect the certificates of military officers and added, ‘there was no such thing”.
On the issue of rigging and non-compliance with the Electoral Act, the petitioners said with the plethora of evidence tendered and witnesses called, they have been able to show to the Tribunal that Buhari’s election was invalid.
They added that analysis of results from 11 states showed how INEC allegedly connived with Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to “wrongly and unlawfully” credit him with votes not valid or lawful.
According to them, documents tendered before the Tribunal showed huge discrepancies between collated results as contained in the tendered certified true copies of forms EC8A and polling units.
They further alleged that a total of 2,906,384 votes were cancelled across the country, while 2,698,773 Nigerians were disenfranchised.
Atiku and the PDP said both figures, when added, exceeded the 3, 928,869 differential between the votes as stated in INEC’s form EC8E.