Tuesday, August 20, 2019

INEC calls PDP’s claim on Buhari’s qualification absurd, asks tribunal to dismiss case

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has been urged to dismiss the claim by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the last election, Atiku Abubakar, that President Muhammadu Buhari lacked the qualification to contest for office of the president.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) made the appeal to the tribunal, describing the claim as an unmatchable absurdity and baseless.

The PDP and Atiku, had in a 43-page final address filed at the tribunal, said that they had proved in their petition that Buhari does not possess the qualification to run for president.
However, in its response filed at the tribunal and dated August 16, INEC, which is the first respondent said Buhari, second respondent, met the set requirements as provided in the electoral act and constitution.

“The necessity for the 1st Respondent to defend its action becomes more glaring having regard to the provisions of Section 31(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and Section 318 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), particularly subparagraph (d) under the definition of School Certificate or its equivalence,” the reply read.

“By the above provisions, the duty of acceptance of the qualification of the 2nd Respondent to contest the election rests solely on the 1st Respondent, which duty was painstakingly exercised by the 1st Respondent. Yet the Petitioners want to gag the 1st Respondent from pointing out obvious facts and consideration which were taken into consideration in making its decision.
“This is the definition of bias and partisanship for the Petitioners. A greater absurdity than this no one may find. We humbly submit that the 1st Respondent has not in any way compromised its position by the wording and contents of its Final Address,” INEC said.

The PDP had also claimed that the Cambridge University WASC certificate tendered by 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.”
But in its response to that, INEC argued that Cambridge “is not a party interested in the matter before the tribunal and documents from them are in no way in violation of the evidence act.”
The APC is said to have also on Sunday prayed the tribunal to dismiss Atiku and PDP’s petition, on the claim that Atiku is not a citizen of Nigerian.

PDP and Atiku are challenging INEC’s declaration of Buhari as the winner of the February 23 presidential election.
The matter has been adjourned till August 21.

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