Barely one month after the presidential and national assembly elections, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has assembled 20 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, (SANs) to challenge his loss at the Election Petitions Tribunal.
He has also recruited over 400 witnesses to testify and challenge the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress’ victory at the poll.
They spoke through the National Legal Adviser of the PDP, Mr Emmanuel Enoidem, on the premises of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, venue of the tribunal where they filed their petition on Monday.
Enoidem spoke to journalists after a joint petition of the party and its presidential candidate was filed at the tribunal’s secretariat.
As of 7.40pm on Monday, the last set of lawyers representing petitioners was just leaving the secretariat.
Enoidem, who said the petitioners would be represented by over 20 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, noted that the last day for the filing of the petition from the date the results of the election were announced was Tuesday.
The petitioners had 21 days from the date the final results of the presidential election were announced on February 27, 2019.
Enoidem said, “The last day for the petition was actually tomorrow (Tuesday)but we decided to file it today (Monday). We asked that our candidate who won the election massively across the country be declared the winner of that election.
“In the alternative, we also asked that the results be set aside on the grounds of irregularities which were very apparent across the country.
“We have a pool of 20 SANs, who are tested in election petitions matters, and other senior lawyers who are also working with them. So we are very ready for the petition. The petition is well packaged.
“The depositions are well put together. More than 400 witnesses are going to testify in this petition. Nigerians are at home with what happened on February in this country, the sham they called election.
“Of course, we are going to re-present the facts to Nigerians as the facts are already in the domains on Nigerians. We are not going to manufacture facts.”
While the order of the tribunal permitting the petitioners to have access to the electoral materials used for the conduct of the election had yet to be enforced, Enoidem said on Monday that his party and its candidates were able to beat the time in filing the petition.
Also speaking, a member of the legal team of the petitioners, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said the petition was “strong, solid and unassailable.”
He said with only one day to the deadline for filing of the petition, the late filing was due to lack of cooperation from the Independent National Electoral Commission in terms of getting access to the electoral materials.
He said, “We have up to tomorrow (Tuesday), to file but we have been having some challenges from INEC itself in terms of assessing materials used during the elections. But I believe we will get there.
“Our petition is quite solid, strong unassailable and we believe that by the grace of God the true keeper and owner of the mandate will have his mandate given to him.”
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