Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and candidate for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has pleaded with Abuja’s Presidential Election Petition Court to declare him the winner of the presidential election, alleging he won in 21 states.
The declaration was made by his legal team, which is directed by Chief Chris Uche, SAN, and is based on an INEC response to Atiku’s petition disputing the election of President Bola Tinubu.
In its final brief of argument, INEC, according to Atiku, neither questioned nor rejected his victory in the states he cited. He claims that the electoral body’s lack of response to his claim constitutes an admission of its veracity.
In his appeal, Atiku lists Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Osun, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara as states where he emerged victorious.
The PDP presidential candidate’s final written address, read in part: “Very importantly, the 1st Respondent (INEC) who conducted the election, made an open admission in paragraph 18 of its Reply to the petition, where it unequivocally stated thus:
“The 1st Respondent further avers that in compliance with extant laws and regulations, it diligently discharged its duties when it collated the 1st Petitioner’s scores at the election which aggregates to 6,984,520 winning only 21 States to wit: Adamawa, Akwa Ibom. Bauchi. Bavelsa. Borno, Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina. Kebbi. Kogi. Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Osun, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara.
“Indeed, as admitted by the 1st Respondent (INEC), the 1st Petitioner (Atiku) won in these 21 States.
“It is important to note that throughout the trial, the ist Respondent (INEC) neither refuted nor countermanded this critical averment nor denied it.
“We urge your Lordship to hold that this constitutes an admission that requires no further proof. It also constitutes an admission against interest.
“The 1st Petitioner contested election to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the platform of the 2nd Petitioner, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which held on 25th February 2023, along with 17 other candidates, including the 2nd Respondent (Tinubu), who was the candidate of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), in whose favour the electoral body, the ‘Independent’ National Electoral Commission (INEC) manipulated the technologies earlier put in place to ensure transparency, and wrongfully returned the said 2nd Respondent as winner at about 4.00am on is March 2023, at a time the 1st Respondent admitted that substantial percentage of the results had not to be transmitted to the collation system for verification as required by law.
“Under the cover of the so-called ‘technical glitch’ excuse which the Respondent never explained, the results were deliberately manipulated through suppression and discounting of the votes of the 1st Petitioner and inflation of the votes of the 2nd Respondent.
“This deliberate bypass of the use of the prescribed verification technology was nationwide and substantially affected the outcome of the election.
“The said 1st Respondent equally proceeded to declare the 2nd Respondent winner when the 2nd Respondent did not meet the mandatory constitutional requirement to secure not less than a quarter of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“This was in addition to the numerous infractions and corrupt practices perpetrated by the Respondents.
“Notwithstanding, the 1st Respondent unequivocally and clearly admitted in its pleadings, namely paragraph 18 at page 13 of its Reply to the Petition, which was never refuted or nor retracted, that the Petitioners won 21 States of the federation in the presidential election, which is an admission against interest.
“As a result of non-use of collation by electronic transmission, the 1st Respondent later altered the admitted result of 21 States for the 1st Petitioner to 12 States.”
Atiku who came second in the presidential election is asking the presidential tribunal to declare him the winner of the election held on the 25th of February, 2023.