The Presidential Election Tribunal on Thursday dismissed the petition filed by the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 election.
NAN reports that the HDP prayed the tribunal to set aside the presidential election of Feb. 23 on the grounds that INEC did not follow conditions in the Electoral Act before postponing the poll earlier scheduled for February 16.
Adopting the HDP’s final address, its lead counsel Mr Chukwunoyerem Njoku, informed the Tribunal that because INEC did not follow the conditions before postponing the election unconstitutionally, a referendum was conducted in line with the law and the presidential candidate of the HDP, Mr. Ambrose Oworu, emerged winner of the referendum with over 50 million votes.
He submitted that Nigerian citizens participated in Feb. 16 referendum as required by law and urged the tribunal to nullify the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari by INEC as president and in his place, restore Owuru as the authentic winner.
However, Buhari, represented by Mr. Wole Olanipekun SAN, urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition on the grounds that it is frivolous, baseless and lacking in merit.
Olanipekun told the Tribunal that the petitioners did not in any way adduce evidence on how the referendum was conducted and who conducted it in line with the provisions of the law.
He also said he had studied carefully the final address of the HDP and its presidential candidate and there was nowhere they made any case against President Buhari.
Also adopting its final address, INEC through its lead counsel, Mr. Yinus Usman, urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost to serve as a deterrent to those who may wish to file frivolous and baseless petitions in the 2023 elections.
Usman argued that the petition lacked merit because the electoral body conducted an election and not a referendum and that the claims of the two petitioners were strange to the electoral umpire.
The All Progressive Congress (APC) represented by Mr. Akin Olujimi, in its final address, demanded the dismissal of the petition for lacking in merit.