Introduction proving that the Presidential election was substantially non-compliance will be very difficult for Atiku and the PDP Based on this awareness, the legal counsel of the respondents came to the Tribunal with a lazy strategy.
Their plans were to; avoid cross examination, explore technicalities, prevent server inspection and to discredit petitioners’ evidences.
As you read through this thought-provoking thread, you will discover how the legal counsels of the petitioners were able to spring a surprise and weather the storm through the following strategies:
1. The various issues for determination were reordered.
2. Some issues for determination were merged.
3. Submission of new academic qualifications for Buhari were rejected.
4. Arguments that Buhari’s qualification issue was a pre-election matter were rejected.
5. Summary of wrong computation of votes in 11 focal states was tendered.
6. False information in Buhari affidavit were re-emphasized.
7. The INEC server result and distraction.
8. Cambridge versus WAEC result.
9. Plan B (Inconclusive Elections).
1. Reordering the issues for determination
One of the things that delighted my heart was the way the petitioners’ legal counsel reordered the issues for determination starting with the most brutal ones. Take for example the issue of Buhari’s non-qualification was presented as the first issue for determination followed by the submission of false information to inec. This was a brilliant move by the legal counsel of Atiku and PDP.
2. Some issues for determination were merged.
In order to reinforce the strength of the petitioner’s final written address, some issues were merged together.
The issues of non-qualification and false information were argued together so as to weaken the counsel of the respondents.
Also the issues of electoral corruption plus non-compliance were merged as well.
Thus, the respondents made the mistake of addressing one of the merged issues & abandoning the other, which is equally as important.
3. Submission of new academic qualifications for Buhari were rejected
The 2nd respondent tried to bring in more credentials that were not listed in Buhari’s resume & in his form CF001 but their efforts were checkmated.
Atiku’s legal counsel posited that any fresh qualifications that were not contained in exhibit P1 (Form CF001) is unnecessary to the questioned election and can not be allowed in determining Buhari’s qualification as at the time of the election.
4. False information in Buhari affidavit were re-emphasized
The respondents tried to be crafty by arguing that the petitioners failed to prove that Buhari submitted false information in his affidavit.
Consequently, Atiku’s legal counsel reminded them that Buhari’s witness had already reinforced the petitioner’s evidence and that the respondent did not even contest the adduced evidence.
Sadly for APC,INEC and Buhari, they did not call a single witness or provide any evidence to prove that the information in his affidavit is true, which means that they have agreed that the information is false as alleged.
5. Arguments that buhari’s qualification issue was a pre-election matter were rejected.
While the respondents argued that Buhari’s qualification issue was a pre-election matter thus statute barred, petitioners’ counsel rejected this position.
Atiku’s lawyers argued that failure to fulfil the conditions relating to qualification as stipulated in section 131(d) of the constitution is a valid ground for questioning an election. The case of Dingyadi & Anor versus Inec (2010) was cited wherein the Supreme Court held that non-qualification is a ground for questioning an election in an election petition.
6. Cambridge versus WAEC result
The discrepancies between the Cambridge result and the waec result were also highlighted. One result showed 6 subjects while another showed 8 subjects.
The petitions’ counsel went on to conclude that both results are not reliable. Besides, both results bear a strange name (Mohamed Buhari).
Sadly, the respondents did not explain d discrepancies & one of their witnesses also confess that d Cambridge document is not a certificate.
7. Wrong computation of votes in 11 focal states
The votes of APC were inflated by 5.98 million at the various stages of collation.
Also the votes of the PDP were inflated as well by APC riggers just to cause confusion the give an impression that both parties rigged the election.
The petitioners consequently argued that a readjustment of the result will show that PDP won the election with a margin of over 200,000 votes.
Atiku’s legal counsel cleverly brought in this conclusion the the eleventh hour through a statistician who analysed all the result sheets and compared them with what INEC announced. The respondents did not respond to this allegation because it was an ambush and they were helpless.
8. INEC server result
All the 3 respondents did not lead any evidence to disproof the server result adduced by the petitioners’ counsel This was a big plus for Atiku and the PDP because were a party fails to lead evidence in his pleading, the pleading is deemed to be abandoned. Also, the respondent assertion that e-collation and transmission were prohibited by the electoral act was rebuffed by the petitioners.
The respondents were reminded that section 52(2) of the 2015 electoral act as amended had removed the restriction on electronic voting.
9. INEC server distraction
The noise and controversy generated by the server also created sufficient distraction to the respondents’ team, especially INEC. While the Atiku Team were busy proving other grounds of their petition, the respondents were struggling on how to deny the existence of the server.
As part of their lazy strategy, rather than disprove the contents of the server, they took the bait of denying the existence of a server, only for them to admit it later at the close of the case. This threw their credibility into the gutter.
10. Plan B (Inconclusive Elections)
Another brilliant move by the petitioners was to throw in an alternative prayer to declare the elections as inconclusive and order a rerun.
A total of 6,512 polling unit results were cancelled and inec failed to hold a rerun election, thus excluding 5.6 m voters.
This was like a Plan B, so that even if the respondents’ team found any technicality to rely on, the case would be salvaged
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