Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says the “disparaging words” used by the presidential election petitions tribunal when it upheld the victory of President Bola Tinubu were signs that it was biased against him and his party.
Abubakar said the tribunal failed to take into cognisance the “doctrine of legitimate expectation”, which he noted is a reason the verdict affirming Tinubu’s victory should be overturned.
On September 6, the tribunal dismissed the petitions filed by the PDP candidate and Peter Obi, standard bearer of the Labour Party (LP).
The court ruled that their cases were devoid of merit.
But the former vice-president has filed an appeal before the supreme court to challenge the verdict.
In the notice of appeal dated September 18, Abubakar argued that the alleged non-compliance by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with the electoral act is another reason the verdict should be nullified.
“The lower court erred in law when it failed to nullify the presidential election held on February 25, 2023 on the ground of noncompliance with the Electoral Act 2022, when by evidence before the court, the 1st respondent (INEC) conducted the election based on very grave and gross misrepresentation contrary to the principles of the Electoral Act 2022, based on the ‘doctrine of legitimate expectation’,” the appeal filed by Chris Uche, Abubakar’s counsel, reads.
“The 1st Respondent neither deployed the electronic transmission of election results nor the electronic collation system in the said election, sabotaging the raison d’etre for the enactment of the new Electoral Act 2022 and the introduction of the technological innovations.
“Rather than hold the 1st respondent (INEC) as a public institution accountable to the representations that it made pursuant to its statutory and constitutional duties which created legitimate expectation on the part of the appellant’s, the lower court wrongly exonerated the 1st respondent of any responsibility by holding that the use of the technological innovations to guarantee transparency was not mandatory.
“The justices in their verdicts, while discountenancing the arguments and contentions of the appellants used expressions such as ‘ludicrous’ (page 721 of the judgment), ‘clever by half’ (page 557 of the judgment), ‘dishonourable practice’ (page 507 of the judgment), ‘smuggle’ (page 557), ‘fallacious’ (page 721 of the judgment); ‘foul play’ (page 560 of the judgment), ‘cross the line of misconception’ (page 644 of the judgment); ‘collect evidence from the market’ (page 765 of the judgment); ‘those who are not used to reading preambles’ (page 726 of the judgment); ‘hollowness in the argument of the petitioners’ (page 727 of the judgment); etc.
“It is the position of the appellants that the choice of words and expressions by the lower court shows the lower court’s contempt and disdain for the appellants.”
Abubakar said it is guaranteed under the law for a candidate to file a petition against an outcome of an election he is not comfortable with.