Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, has told President Bola Tinubu that heavens would not fall if justice is done by cancelling his election.
In a final written address of Atiku and the PDP in their joint petition challenging Tinubu’s declaration as the winner of the presidential election put together by their lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), Atiku said the February 25 election was the worst in the history of general election in Nigeria.
The petitioners said in their final written address that the election was marred by brazen subversion of the will of the Nigerian voters, despite the enactment of a new Electoral Act, the introduction of promising technological innovations to ensure transparency, massive investment of public funds and guarantees by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that conducted the election.
According to Atiku, INEC, under the excuse of “technical glitch”, deliberately manipulated the election results through suppression and discounting of his votes and inflation of the votes of Tinubu.
Atiku said, “The deliberate bypass of the use of the prescribed verification technology was nationwide and substantially affected the outcome of the election.”
Uche said in the address that, INEC proceeded to declare Tinubu winner when he (Tinubu) did not meet the mandatory constitutional requirement of securing not less than a quarter of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Atiku and his party told the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) that Tinubu was constitutionally disabled from contesting for the office of President of Nigeria in the light of the forfeiture judgement against him of the sum of $460,000 for narcotics related crime (proceed of crime) in the United States, as well as holding dual citizenship of Nigeria and Guinea in addition to presenting forged documents to INEC.
In order to suppress evidence, INEC, having gotten a court order to reconfigure the Biomodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine used for the election, the petitioners claimed that the electoral body purged the entire BVAS machines of all the data as confirmed in their letter dated 17th May, 2023.
To prove their case, Uche said, the petitioners called 27 witnesses and tendered several documents, stating that, inline with the role of technology in the conduct of the presidential election, there was a departure from the need to call physical witnesses from polling units, being the intendment of the present technological improvement to discontinue with past impossibility to call witnesses from over half or more of the 176, 846 polling units nationwide.
He said Tinubu’s final written address, “With respect, reflect a complete misconception and unfortunate misunderstanding of the case of the petitioners, not withstanding the magisterial arrogance, condescending cynism and overbearing misanthropy with which he has sought to trivialise the petitioners’ case.
“A subtle threat of apocalyptic catastrophe of national chaos and anarchy if a judgement is not given in a particular manner cannot deter the court of law from doing justice.
“The court must do justice, rather, let the heavens fall, but as courageously stated by the Supreme Court, per Oguntade (JSC) in the epic case of Amaechi Vs INEC and others (2008), “I must do justice even if heavens fall. The truth of course is that, when justice has been done, the heavens stay in place”.
Atiku and PDP raised four issues for the determination of the court: whether the return of Tinubu as winner of the presidential election was not invalidated by reason of substantial non compliance with the novel and mandatory provisions of the Electoral Act 2002 on electronic transmission of results for collation and verification.
Whether Tinubu was lawfully declared and returned as the winner of the presidential election, having not secured one quarter of the valid votes cast in FCT as required by the constitution.
Whether Tinubu was not disqualified under the provisions of the constitution to contest the presidential election, having regard to order of forfeiture arising from drug-related offence, his acquisition of the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria and presenting forged certificate to INEC.
Whether INEC was not wrong in returning Tinubu when he was not duly elected by majority of the lawful votes cast in the election.
They further submitted that the nation and its judiciary stand at the threshold of history and that, “The fact that a presidential election has never been nullified by the court in Nigeria before now, is not a good reason not to do so now, as is very just to so do.
“May our law and country not stand still while the rest of the world goes on. As has been said, let justice be done, the heavens will not fall”, Atiku and the PDP stated.