Disparaging Words used by the Tribunal showed it was biased – Atiku

Atiku Abubakar Accuses Presidential Tribunal Judges Of Bias

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admin September 22, 2023
Updated 2023/09/22 at 10:15 AM
Highlights
  • Atiku Abubakar, has accused the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) judges
  • Atiku is seeking an overturn of the PEPC judgment at the Supreme Court
  • The February 25 poll was "Conducted based on very grave and gross misrepresentation" - Atiku

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has accused the judges of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) of being biased in their judgment that affirmed the election of President Bola Tinubu.

Atiku believes that the judges’ remarks during the delivery of the judgment were disrespectful. He is now seeking to overturn the PEPC judgment at the Supreme Court, arguing that the tribunal failed to consider the “Doctrine of Legitimate Expectation.”

This legal doctrine ensures protection for individuals when a public authority goes back on a representation made to them. Atiku argues that the Independent National Electoral Commission’s failure to conduct the election in compliance with its guidelines and the Electoral Act, 2022, should have been taken into account by the judges.

SaharaReporters has learned that Atiku, in his Notice of Appeal dated September 18 and filed by his lead counsel, Chris Uche (SAN), argued that the failure of the tribunal to uphold the doctrine of legitimate expectation should be grounds for the Supreme Court to overturn the entire decision of the lower court.

Atiku, who presented seven grounds in his Notice of Appeal, stated that the lower court made an error in failing to invalidate the presidential election held on February 25, 2023, due to non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022.

He provided evidence to the court that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted the election based on severe misrepresentations, which goes against the principles of the Electoral Act 2022. Atiku argued that this misrepresentation violated the “doctrine of legitimate expectation”.

The former Vice President noted that the Electoral Act, of 2022, made it obligatory to use the Bi-modal Verification Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC’s Results Viewing (IReV) portals in the 2023 general elections.

He further stated that INEC, led by Chairman Professor Yakubu Mahmood, publicly assured candidates, political parties, and Nigerians that the results from polling units would be electronically transmitted or transferred directly by the Presiding Officers.

He argued that there was no evidence to suggest that INEC modified its guidelines and regulations to remove the requirement of electronically transmitting the election results from polling units to the central collation system.

Atiku additionally stated that INEC conducted the Presidential Election by deceitfully claiming that the results would be electronically transmitted from the polling units to their collation system.

However, INEC failed to fulfill this promise, thereby undermining the purpose of the new Electoral Act 2022 and the technological advancements introduced.

Instead of holding INEC accountable for these false representations and the legitimate expectations created, the lower court wrongly absolved INEC of any responsibility.

According to his statement, he asserted that the poll conducted on February 25 was not free and fair because it involved serious misrepresentation, which violated the principles of the Electoral Act 2022, as well as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.

He argued that this misrepresentation undermined the presumption of regularity in favor of the first respondent.

He further emphasized that INEC, as a public institution, should not be exempt from the law and should not be allowed to flout its own regulations without consequences, especially when parties have relied on clear and unambiguous representations and have legitimate expectations.

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