Buhari opens defence at presidential election tribunal

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday opened his defence in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the February 23 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar.

The PDP and its candidate are challenging the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Mr Buhari as the winner of the election.

The petitioners listed INEC, Mr Buhari and the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) as first, second and third respondents respectively.

The petitioners on July 19 closed their case after calling 62 witnesses and tendering several documents as evidence before the tribunal.

At the hearing on Tuesday, Mr Buhari’s counsel, Wole Olanipekun, informed the tribunal that they have some documents which consist of newspaper publications, receipts and certified true copies of WAEC certificate, to be admitted as exhibits.

The petitioner’s counsel, Levy Uzoukwu, objected to the admissibility of the documents and reserved reasons to the objection till the final address stage.

But INEC and the APC counsel did not object to the admissibility of the documents.

Prior to this, the tribunal chairman, Mohammed Garba tendered the documents to be marked as exhibit R1 to 18 and exhibit R19 to 26 respectively.

Shortly after all the documents were tendered, Mr Olanipekun called his first witness, a retired general of the Nigerian Army, Paul Tarfa, who said he joined the army with Mr Buhari on April 16, 1962.

The PDP and Mr Abubakar are challenging Mr Buhari’s re-election on many grounds. They allege that the results of the election announced by INEC were doctored and that Mr Buhari lied on oath about the secondary school he claimed to have attended.

Mr Buhari’s educational qualification has become a repeated basis upon which different interested parties challenge his candidacy.

Newsmen reported how a separate case instituted by three Nigerians challenging Mr Buhari’s educational qualification has reached the Supreme Court.


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