Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Tanko Muhammadu is leading the seven-man panel currently hearing the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to challenge the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the February 23, 2019 poll.
Other members of the panel are Justices Bode Rhodes-Vivour, Olukayode Ariwoola, John Okoro, Amiru Sanusi, Ejembi Eko and Uwani Abba-Ajji.
The National Chairmen of both the PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) Uche Secondus and Adams Oshiomhole are in the courtroom. They were seen exchanging pleasantries before the hearing commenced.
A handful of chieftains and supporters from both parties are also in the courtroom.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the February 2019 Presidential Election, Atiku Abubakar on Wednesday presented five additional witnesses at the presidential election petitions tribunal.
The witnesses claimed that results in the election were unjustifiably cancelled in some wards and polling units in Karu and Doma Local Government Areas of Nasarawa State.
The witnesses who served as Polling Unit and Ward Agents allege that results were cancelled in areas where the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the election.
Under cross-examination, Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) dismissed the claims on the ground that all results were taken to the State Collation Centre from where the results were announced.
A fifth witness from Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State who was also presented by the PDP claimed that February 23, 2019, Presidential election was marred by widespread rigging and stuffing of ballot boxes.
He claims that the malpractice was perpetrated by INEC officials who discarded the use of card readers for accreditation of voters.
Under cross-examination, counsel to President Buhari, Mister Lateef Fagbemi countered the witness claim as he pointed out a paragraph in the witness statement affirming that the election was generally peaceful, free and fair.
The Tribunal led by later went on break as the petitioners seek to present more witnesses.
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says its attention has been drawn to a CCTV footage relating to allegations of malfeasance by a senator elected on the platform of the PDP, Senator Elisha Abbo.
In a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said it is as a law-abiding and upstanding party, hence it detests and completely condemns such act of “lawlessness and callousness” as exhibited in the video, adding that it will therefore never condone it.
“Our party is also shocked that the harmless victim of the unprovoked assault is said to be a nursing mother, who ought to be protected.
Though this is a personal conduct of an individual which has no bearing with the culture of our party, the PDP, however, holds that no responsible person will condone such an attitude,” the statement partly read.
In the light of its take such an issue, the party said it’s National Working Committee has commenced an investigation into the matter and has summoned Senator Elisha Abbo in line with the provisions of the Constitution of the PDP and code of conduct of its members.
In the same vein, the party said it has taken note of the immediate action taken by the Senate.
“The PDP, at all levels of engagement, is reputed for her utmost respect and commitment towards the rights, safety, and wellbeing of our citizens, particularly our women and cannot tolerate any callous assault on any Nigerian.
“The PDP, therefore, assures Nigerians that it will always stand on the side of justice and will never spare a thought in taking action on any of its members found wanting, particularly those elected or appointed into public offices,” the party stated.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar of doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari administration, overheat the polity and make Nigeria seemingly ungovernable.
The minister, who spoke during the 12th annual Ramadan lecture on Saturday in his Oro country home in Kwara state, claimed that the opposition party have colluded with “anti-democratic forces and dead-enders” to fan the embers of violence in the country.
“As you are aware, a few days ago we raised the alarm that either by themselves or via their proxies, the PDP and it’s presidential candidate, are doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari administration, generally overheat the polity and make Nigeria seemingly ungovernable. Of course, you are aware of similar alarms that have been raised by the police, the military and the DSS.
“Our interventions are based on credible evidence and no government with the kind of evidence that we have, of plans to subvert the power of the state, attack the nation’s economic live wire and generally unleash mayhem on the polity, will keep quiet.
“The security agencies are all alert to their responsibilities and will not sit by and allow anyone to reverse the gains of our democracy under any guise,” he added.
Mr Mohammed called on Nigerians to use the occasion to pray for the country against those he described as ‘anti-democratic forces’ and ‘dead-enders’.
“Therefore appropriate to use this occasion to call on all Nigerians to pray for our dear country, to pray for peace and unity. Those who masquerade as Democrats but can’t take electoral defeat, those who will not hesitate to collude with anti-democratic forces and dead-enders to fan the embers of violence in the country and those who have elevated their personal ambition over and above our survival as a nation.
“Since our intervention, pseudo and partisan analysts have teamed up with the spokesmen for the main opposition party and its presidential candidate to either exhibit their ignorance or to engage in red herring and name calling. We are neither distracted nor dissuaded.
Rivers State Governorship candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, Biokpomabo Awara has expressed disappointment over the purported resignation of his running mate Akpo Bomba Yeeh and his reported defection to the Peoples’ Democratic Party PDP.
Awara who addressed journalists at a briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, dismissed Yeeh’s ‘compromising’ actions, claiming that he had himself been offered money to drop his ambition, but he rejected it and his deputy was aware.
“When the story of his resignation first came out as a rumour, that Rivers State Governor has offered him N200 million to abandon me, I had no reason to believe it because that Elder Yeeh was aware I had earlier turned down an offer of N3b some days ago.”
“When the rumour became rife by Sunday, I made several attempts to reach my deputy without success. I started developing some strange feelings pointing to a possible sell-out by him.”
However, Awara stated that he has officially filed a petition to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), against its Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers State, Obo Effanga, whom they accused of gross incompetence and bias.
“My party and all well-meaning citizens of Rivers State are dissatisfied with the gross incompetence of the REC and INEC’s decision to continue with the suspended electoral process, as it is clearly not a fair or transparent process.
“We are concerned about the looming electoral crises unfolding in Rivers State and this may most likely result in a breakdown of law and order, destruction of property and loss of lives.”
The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kano have expressed dissatisfaction at the conduct of the governorship election which produced a candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Umar Ganduje as the winner.
The PDP, at a press conference in Kano, rejected the results and vowed to contest the outcome at the election petition tribunal.
Governorship candidate of the PDP, Abba Yusuf, revealed that the party has assembled its legal team to begin a court process.
“The next line of action is for us to go to court, we have mobilised all our lawyers and they are here collecting all the pieces of evidence on the ground. By Tuesday or Wednesday, we will submit our case to the tribunal; we expect the tribunal to give us every necessary support in terms of justice. We expect our mandate to be retrieved from the APC and justice would be done.”
Deputy governorship candidate, Aminu Abdulsalam, urged the Nigeria Police and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to do the right thing as unbiased umpires.
The level of violence in Gama was in full glare of everybody, yet nobody is willing to say a word, they even went on to say that all was well. The only way forward is for the police force to do what they are supposed to do, to be an unbiased umpire. INEC should sit up and do the right thing. Canceling the election was the best thing that could have happened.
The state party chairman, Suleiman Bichi, however, described it as ‘unfortunate’ and expressed his displeasure at the election process.
“Well I think it is a purely electoral robbery in Kano, it is unfortunate that in this era in Nigeria, this kind of thing can happen. It is beyond human imagination. I cannot fathom if this country is ready for democracy, and democracy has been massacred, battered and it is unfortunate and I hope that the leaders look into it and amend what has happened in Kano. Otherwise, this may be the end of democracy in Nigeria.”
The PDPs reaction is coming after the governorship rerun election which was conducted in 28 Local Government Areas. The incumbent governor, Umar Ganduje was returned as governor-elect of the state.
The Chairman of the National Peace Committee, General Abdulsalam Abubakar, says the group has presented the grievances and observations of the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate in Saturday’s election, Atiku Abubakar, to the President.
Gen. Abubakar told journalists after the committee met with President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday that the meeting was basically to convey the fears of the PDP to the President, affirming that Mr. Atiku did not give conditions as being speculated.
“Mr. President has listened to us and also taken note of what we have told him.
On behalf of this country and all of us regardless, we need peace. This country is very important to all of us.
We are not talking of self-interest; we are talking of the interest of Nigeria,” said Gen Abubakar.
He described the PDP presidential candidate’s decision to approach the courts as the right thing to do. “I am glad that the PDP has said they are going to court,” asking Nigerians to maintain peace.
The meeting comes a day after the Committee met with the PDP Presidential candidate, in the company of other leaders of the party including the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, among others.
The National Peace Committee has been in the forefront of the campaign for peaceful elections in the country.
In the run up to the Presidential and National Assembly polls, the Committee got the presidential candidates to sign a Peace Accord, pledging to maintain the atmosphere peace and urge their supporters to abstain from violence.
“The NWC found merit in the petition on allegation of dereliction of duty and anti-party activity as contained in Section 58 (1) e, f, g, h of the PDP Constitution.
“Therefore, in exercise of section 29 (2) a, b and c, the NWC hereby invokes Section 59 (1) d of the constitution of the PDP on the Deputy National Chairman (North) and accordingly suspends him from the party immediately,” the statement read in part.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday took the campaign for its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to Ilorin, the Kwara State Capital.
The campaign train was met by a cheering crowd in the state.
Senate President Bukola Saraki during the rally claimed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has not kept the promises it made to Nigerians. He added that it is time to elect a President that will unite and not divide the country.
The National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus in his address said the PDP is on a rescue mission in the nation.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says its North West Presidential Zonal Rally will hold tomorrow, Monday in Sokoto, Sokoto State.
The rally according to the party will be used to touch base with leaders in the geopolitical zone on further consultations on the national consensus to ‘rescue’ Nigeria from Muhammadu Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Director of Media and Publicity, PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Kola Ologbondiyan in a statement on Sunday said the campaign will focus on issues as well as address the concerns, plights, fears and aspirations of Nigerians in the geopolitical zone, in line with the policy document of its Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
“The Northwest bears heavy imprints of neglect by President Buhari’s administration, the President and the APC cannot point to any key development project articulated and completed by it in the last three and half years, despite the huge resources it claims to have channelled to the zone.
“The North West zone is now rallying with the PDP’s Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who has demonstrated an unrivaled competence and political will to reposition the nation and return her to the path of national cohesion and economic prosperity,” the statement read in part.
The PDP also appreciated the people of the North West geo-political zone and Nigerians in general for the unprecedented outpouring of goodwill, prayers and support for Atiku Abubakar, since his emergence as the party’s Presidential candidate.