Supreme Court explains why it upheld Buhari’s election against Atiku

A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court has ruled that President Muhammadu Buhari was eminently qualified to run for the office of President of Nigeria.

While explaining why Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election lost his petition against Buhari, the apex court held that Buhari possessed the required educational qualification to contest the election, and that he did not submit false documents to the electoral body.

Supreme Court explains why it dismissed Atiku's appeal challenging President Muhammadu Buhari's victory in the 2019 presidential election on Friday, November 15, 2019. [Sahara Reporters]

Supreme Court explains why it dismissed Atiku’s appeal challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the 2019 presidential election on Friday, November 15, 2019. [Sahara Reporters]

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, on Friday, November 15, said the constitution does not require anyone to possess a secondary school certificate to be qualified to run for president.

According to the CJN who was represented at the Friday court proceedings by Justice John Okoro, the constitution allows a candidate who possesses a primary school certificate and has worked in the public or private service for a period not less than 10 years, and can read, write and communicate in the English language to the satisfaction of INEC, to contest the election.

The apex court also held that Atiku and his party failed to prove their claim that they won the Saturday, February 23, presidential election on the basis of the results allegedly transmitted electronically to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) server.

Muhammad explained that the matter in the appeal is not whether INEC has a website, nor is it whether INEC posted the results of the presidential election on its website, but “it is whether the from which the appellants downloaded the results belonged to INEC.

The CJN further said that one of the appellants’ witnesses admitted that the results which they claimed gave Atiku and PDP victory over Buhari was obtained by an anonymous employee of INEC acting as a whistle-blower and uploaded to website.

Therefore, all the data, analysis and conclusions based on the content of the alleged server are of no moment,” Justice Muhammad stated.

Atiku had been challenging Buhari’s victory following the 2019 presidential poll, on the basis that the election was fraught with irregularities.

The presidential election petitions tribunal however dismissed Atiku’s petition and the judgment was also affirmed by the appeal court. Atiku then proceeded to the Supreme Court, where his application was thrown out.


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