The Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate in the February 23, 2019 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Monday, presented their first set of six witnesses at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in their bid to prove their petition challenging outcome of the polls.
They are by their petition filed before the Justice Mohammed Garba-led tribunal of five justices, challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress at the polls.
The petitioners presented their witnesses just as there were indications that they would challenge the results of the presidential election in 11 states.
Monday was the third of the 10 days the petitioners were allotted to present their case.
A former ally of Buhari, Buba Galadima, was the first witness presented by the petitioners at the Monday’s proceedings, contending that Buhari was not academically qualified to contest the presidential election.
Others included three Independent National Electoral Comimssion’s ad hoc workers serving in different capacities during the election, who testified that they transmitted the results of the election electronically as INEC trained them to do.
Others were party agents, who alleged harassment and intimidation of voters at their polling units.
The witnesses, in turn, were led by the lead counsel for the petitioners, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), to adopt as their evidence-in-chief, their witness statements on oath which they had earlier deposed to.
They were subsequently cross-examined by the respondents’ lawyers.
Under cross-examination by Buhari’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Galadmia, denied the claim that he fell out with Buhari after the President refused to appoint him a minister in 2015.
He said his quarrel with Buhari arose from the alleged injustice in the President’s administration, lack of inclusiveness and failure of the administration to secure Nigeria.
“You fell out with the 2nd respondent (Buhari), because he did not make you a minister in 2015,” Olanipekun asked.
Responding, Galadima said, “No. You should know that I fought all the previous governments since 1999 because of injustice.
“We made good promises to Nigerians, including justice and to secure the country, which he has failed to do.
“It has always been part of my characteristics to fight injustice.”
Reminded that his daughter, Zainab Buba-Galadima, remained a technical assistant to Buhari, Galadima denied saying he was only aware that she was appointed a member of “Films Board in Jos”.
He said with two first degrees and two Master’s’ degrees, his daughter was qualified to be appointed by the government.
“She is a qualified Nigerian. She is a mature Nigerian and who by her right having worked for the President deserves to be appointed.
“She is a member of Film Corporation Board and there many of those who have not worked for the President got bigger positions like minister.”
He confirmed that he had supported Buhari in the 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 elections until the 2019 election, yet he insisted that Buhari was not qualified to run for the presidency.
Asked by Olanipekun if he was aware that Buhari addressed the nation in English language while being the Head of State between 1983 and 1985, Galadima said, “As military Head of State, he addressed the country in the languages he understood which might include English.”
While being cross-examined by the All Progressives Congress’ lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), the witness said he was not in the country when the Independent National Electoral Commission displayed the list of presidential candidates for the last election and so he could not have contested the President’s candidacy.
He also said he was aware that there was no registered party called the Reformed APC, but maintained that he was still the chairman of the group.
He however said he remained a member of the APC since he had “not been sacked” from the party.
Galadima, a spokesperson for the Atiku Campaign Organisation, said, “I am still a member of the APC. I have not been sacked. We are in court. I don’t want to be sub judice.
“I am not a member of the PDP, but we have a memorandum of understanding with the PDP to produce God-fearing, good and educated leader.”