Both the Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and Presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP) Peter Obi have both closed their respective cases without proving how they won the election.
So, the idea of the court declaring any of them the winner of the election is out of the equation.
I don’t understand the strategy of not leading evidence that shows the number of votes that LP actually won in this election. Does LP and PDP want the judges to do calculations on its behalf?
At the very best, you can:
1. Remove all the blurred IREV or non-existent IREV documents and ask for cancelation for all parties.
2. Ask for cancelation, or choose one – with reasons – where substantial alterations are found between paper copy and IREV document.
Unless of course they have done this, and still see LP falling short…..
The second part of their plea is to get President Bola Tinubu disqualified on three grounds. Vice President, Kashim Shettima’s so called double nomination that has now been thrashed by the Supreme Court and 25% of FCT that the two parties seems to have abandoned as they didn’t push this argument seriously. Even if they’ve pushed it, section 299 already made it clear FCT should be treated like a state so it won’t even matter.
The third argument is to get him disqualified by a combination of certificate forgery, dual citizenship and drug conviction.
The certificate forgery is of two nature. Chicago state university and NYSC. As regards Chicago state university, the University already issued a public statement that Bola Tinubu graduated from the University. That alone is enough to settle the matter. All the gymnastic about the color or font of certificate is nonsense.
On NYSC, I would have expected Atiku’s legal team to subpoena NYSC to prove the authenticity of the certificate submitted by Tinubu but they failed to do that. So, how did they arrive at the conclusion that the certificate was forged? NYSC is the only authority that can confirm the authenticity or otherwise of an NYSC certificate.
On the drug conviction issue, it is as empty as the lawyer PDP brought to as witness to prove the case. The witness simply helped PDP to ruin a case that was faulty right from the start. There was no criminal conviction or indictment in the forfeiture. The communication from the US government to the IGP already cleared him of all allegation.
Overall, Atiku and Peter Obi simply wasted everyone’s time. They had no case of rigging so they had to throw in a lot of allegations hoping one will stick. Now it appears they proved none. The two cases will be dismissed with heavy cost to the petitioners.
In one week time, President Tinubu will open his defence before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) concerning the consolidated Petitions filed by Atiku and Peter Obi, against his declaration as the winner of the 25 February 2023 presidential election.
Atiku’ and Peter Obi closed their case after calling 35 witnesses even though initially they had given an indication they will call 150 witnesses.
In civil cases, the plaintiff has the burden of proving their case by a preponderance of the evidence, which means the plaintiff merely needs to show that the fact in dispute is more likely than not.
In other words, the burden of proof in a civil matter lies upon the Plaintiff.
In the case before PEPT, the burden of proof lies therefore upon Atiku Abubakar, PDP, Peter Obi, and the Labour Party (Petitioners).
In law, as a defendant (Respondent in the case under reference), you are not required to make out a case for yourself before the court. All that a defendant is required to do is rebut answer the allegations made by a Plaintiff in his pleadings against him.
The Defence for a Respondent in an election petition is provided by section 134 (2) of the Electoral Act which provides that an election cannot be invalidated on the ground of noncompliance with the provisions of the Act where it appears to the Tribunal that its conduct was in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act.
In other words all the Respondent to an election petition needs to establish is that the election was conducted substantially with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Finally, it is a fundamental principle of law laid down in a plethora of decided cases that the result of an election declared by the Electoral body entrusted with the conduct of an election is presumed correct until the contrary is proven.
It is the Petitioner that has a burden to prove that an election was conducted contrary to law.
One of the most telling exchange in one of the cross-examinations went like this:
O: You want the court to determine that the 1st petitioner scored the most votes cast. Can you tell my lords the number of valid votes scores by Peter Obi. Assist us
W: Our expert on oath has answered that
O: Where you here when the expert gave his witness
SAN Livy stands up, your time is up and you’ve asked over 4 more questions and the judges are letting it
O: Why are you jittery, let him answer
Justice Tsammani: Witness answer, how ma y votes did Peter Obi win do you know
W: If INEC did well, then I will.
O: That’s all thank you and good evening.
Look at Justice Tsammami question. That is what I am saying. You should show that you won.
Too late now!