May 29: Presidential election tribunal knocks out case against Buhari

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…As Atiku calls for Lai Muhammed’s arrest

The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has dismissed the suit filed by the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and its Presidential Candidate, Mr Ambrose Aworu, seeking to stop President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration.

In a lead judgment delivered by Justice Joseph Ikyechi, the tribunal dismissed the application for lacking merit.

Respondents in the suit which include the President, his party the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) faulted the application and asked the tribunal to dismiss it for lacking merit.

The HDP in its application said it will be unfair and unjust to inaugurate President Buhari for a second term on the ground that the validity of the election that produced him has been challenged at the tribunal.

The party also prayed for an order stopping the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad from inaugurating or administering the Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance on him (Buhari) until all court actions against him are determined.

The two petitioners said they are challenging the validity of President Buhari’s election on the ground of non- compliance with the electoral laws and have dully served the President, INEC and the APC despite notice of hearing of their petition against his election.

They noted that the President has been making frantic efforts and preparations to be sworn in and inaugurated on May 29 by inviting the CJN and the general public.

They, therefore, insisted that restraining order by the tribunal is appropriate to preserve the subject matter of their petition and rendering their petition nugatory.

In the meantime, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the just concluded elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has demanded the arrest of the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, for raising a false alarm that the PDP and its presidential candidate were planning to upstage the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The former vice-president said he is abreast of some other plans to plant fictitious stories in some mushroom media outlets aimed at discrediting him and his party.

Atiku, in a statement Thursday by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, said that it was becoming revealing the grand plot being orchestrated by some agents of evil to stage-manage pockets of upset targeted at attacking the reputation of Atiku.

He stated: “It is very unsettling that senior administration officials, especially those who are the mouthpiece of government will make reckless but calculated comments to tarnish the image of Atiku Abubakar and government will sit idly on it.

“With the conclusion reached by Premium Times’ investigative reporting that there is no evidentiary proof to back the claim by Lai Mohammed that the opposition was planning to upstage the government, we demand that the information minister should be arrested for raising false alarm and an apology rendered to Atiku Abubakar and the PDP.”

He emphasised that by the merit of what is beginning to unfold, there are plans to create some upset across the country whereby alleged perpetrators of such crimes would engage in phantom names dropping of Atiku and some senior personalities in his party.

The former vice-president said it therefore becomes preponderant that he alerts the public of this demonic plan and to say that it would be imprudent to compromise the peace and security of Nigerians in order to score a cheap political goal.

According him, “We wish to blow the whistle as an early warning alert of the grandiose scheme being put together by some unscrupulous elements aimed at jeopardising the reputation of His Excellency Atiku Abubakar in the coming days and weeks.

“Towards this end, and for the umpteenth time, we call on the federal government to be awake to its responsibilities of providing security and ensuring peace, and to desist from actions and utterances that are capable of exposing our fault lines.”

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