Buhari, Atiku’s battle for Nigeria enters new phase

                              

Barely one week after the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared President Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner of the February 23 presidential election, his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, counterpart, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Wednesday, made good his promise to legally challenge the outcome of the election.

Atiku, according to INEC, polled a total of 11, 262, 978 votes, 3, 928, 869 votes less than Buhari who garnered a total of 15, 191, 847 votes to clinch a fresh term of four years. But to Atiku and his party, the outcome of the exercise does not reflect the will of the vast majority of Nigerians, who, they claimed, voted against the ruling party. In announcing his decision to challenge the election result, Atiku had eulogized the judiciary saying, “I am encouraged by the presence of fearless men and women of the bench. The judiciary which had in the past discharged itself ably is once again being called upon to deliver judgment on this matter that will be untainted by lucre and uncowed by the threat of immoral power.” Early last week, Atiku and his legal team, led by Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, secured the nod of the Presidential Election Tribunal to inspect materials used for the exercise but had their request to subject ballot papers to forensic examination rejected. In a ruling by a three-man panel headed by Justice Abdul Aboki, the tribunal argued that audit of ballot papers used for election is outside the provision of the Electoral Act. Atiku and the PDP, in deciding to head to the court, had premised their rejection of the poll’s outcome on a number of issues, even as they stated that they had in their custody the authentic result derived from polling units and voting points across the nation. So, what are these issues?

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