The Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday said it rejected the judgment of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal on the petition filed by its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari, at the February 23, 2019 presidential poll.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, described the tribunal’s verdict as provocative and a direct assault on the integrity of the nation’s justice system.
In a statement on Wednesday, Ologbondiyan said, “The PDP finds it as bewildering that a court of law could validate a clear case of perjury and declaration of false information in a sworn affidavit, as firmly established against President Muhammadu Buhari, even in the face of incontrovertible evidence.
“The party is also rudely shocked that the court took over the roles of the respondents’ lawyers, who clearly abandoned their pleadings by refusing to call evidence in defence of the petition. The court raked up all manner of excuses to make up for the yawning gaps occasioned by the total absence of any evidence from the respondents.”
Ologbondiyan said Nigerians and the international community watched with utter disbelief when the tribunal ruled that one needed not provide a copy or certified true copy of educational certificate that such individual claims to possess, contrary to established proof of claims of certification.
He said the PDP found it strange that the court even went ahead to provide rationalisations in favour of Buhari, even when, according to him, all hard facts before it showed that Buhari did not possess the claimed educational certificate and that the Army was not in possession of his WASCE certificate as claimed in the affidavit he deposed to in his presidential nomination form.
Ologbondiyan said, “The PDP also described as shocking that the court approved the flawed declaration of President Buhari as the winner of the election despite evidence to show the perpetration of illegalities, manipulations, alterations and subtraction of valid votes freely given to Atiku Abubakar by Nigerians.
“Indeed, the pervading melancholic atmosphere across our nation since the verdict is a direct indication that the judgment has not fulfilled the desires and expectations of Nigerians. The PDP however encouraged Nigerians to remain calm and not to lose hope or surrender to despondency or self-help, as our lawyers are upbeat in obtaining justice at the Supreme Court.
“This is more so as the tribunal itself admitted that there are several errors in the judgment.”
Our legal team’ll study judgment – Secondus
The National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, told The PUNCH that the legal team of the party would study the tribunal’s judgment and decide on the next step to take.
“We have heard the judgment; our legal team will study it and we take it from there,” Secondus said.
I wasn’t disturbed by Atiku’s suit all along – Buhari
But in his reaction to the tribunal’s verdict, Buhari said he was not disturbed all along by Atiku’s petition, because he knew that nothing would come out of it.
While describing the tribunal’s verdict as victory for Nigerians, Buhari said he could not nurse any fear over Atiku’s petition because Nigerians, indeed, returned him to power for a second term on February 23.
His reaction was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
He said, “Good conscience fears no evil report. I was unperturbed all along, because I knew Nigerians freely gave us the mandate.
“We are now vindicated.”
The President commended the judiciary for “dispensing justice without fear or favour.”
Buhari extended a hand of fellowship to his challengers, urging them to forget the past.
“It is time for the country to move forward as one cohesive body, putting behind us all bickering and potential distractions over an election in which Nigerians spoke clearly and resoundingly,” he said.
Tribunal ruling, victory for rule of law, decency – APC
Buhari’s party, the All Progressives Congress, described the tribunal’s verdict as victory for the rule of law and decency.
The APC congratulated the judiciary for refusing to succumb to the PDP subterfuge.
The ruling party said, “Our position has now been justified that the PDP and Atiku’s petition was a complete waste of time. In their puerile efforts, they insisted on taking the country on a circus and wild goose chase.