By Ifeanyi Valentine
Three other political parties and their presidential candidates have joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Atiku Abubakar in the battle to rest power from President Muhammadu buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) once the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) commences sitting.
The latest to have challenged the outcome of the February 23 presidential election are the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and its presidential candidate, Chief Ambrose Owuru; Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) and its presidential candidate, Pastor Aminchi Habu and the Coalition for Change (C4C) and its presidential candidate Jeff Ojinka.
The various Presidential aspirant in their separate petitions prayed the tribunal to nullify the election of Buhari on grounds of alleged massive rigging of the February 23 presidential election as well as substantial non compliance with the provisions of the law by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Respondents in the petitions are President Buhari, APC and INEC. However, unlike in all the other petitions, the C4C had included the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, as the 2nd Respondent, with APC and INEC, 3rd and 4th respectively in its petition.
The HDP and Owuru in their petition marked CA/EPT/PRE/001/2019, dated March 6 and filed March 7 is praying the tribunal to nullify the election of February 23 and the subsequent declaration of Buhari as the winner on the grounds that INEC has no power under any law to shift the February 16 date to 23.
The two petitioners who claimed to have been excluded from Participating in the February 23 poll, averred that the election was invalid by reason of non compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act which stipulates the conditions under which election can be lawfully postpone.
Their main grouse was that they were validly nominated for the 2019 general election, but were unlawfully excluded from the said elections by INEC which delisted their names and party logo from the ballot papers.
They however asserted that they will at the trial lead evidence and rely on the laws in support of their petitions to establish that the shifting of the election from February 16 to 23 was without the force of law and powers to do so.
Another grouse of the petitioners was that INEC placed a false version of their registered party logo on the ballot papers for elections and that cost them the chances of realising their political ambition in the 2019 general election.
Meanwhile an exparte motion filed by the petitioners seeking to serve President muhammadu Buhari with their petition and other processes is to be heard at the Court of Appeal in Abuja on Thursday, March 28.
The exparte motion filed by Yusuf Ibrahim, an Abuja based lawyer is seeking an order of the court to serve President Buhari by pasting their petition at the Aso Villa Presidential office, the National Secretariat of the APC and at the tribunal’s notice board.
The exparte motion followed an affidavit of non-service deposed to by one Abubakar Mohammed, Chief Bailiff of the Court of Appeal, where he claimed that security personnel at the reception of Aso Villa denied him access to enter and effect service on President Buhari on the grounds that there is no directive from the president’s office to that effect.
Similarly both the C4C and the PDM in their different petitions marked CA/PEPC/003/2019 and CA/PEPC/004/2019, respectively, contended that the level of irregularities which characterized the election were so much as to nullify the declaration of Buhari as winner of the presidential poll.