- Category: April 2011 Polls
- Published on Monday, 09 May 2011 07:54
- Written by Admin
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The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) yesterday began its battle to upturn President Goodluck Jonathan’s victory at the April 16 presidential election.
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s party filed a petition before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, just ahead of today’s deadline for submission of petitions.
The CPC is asking for the nullification of results in 20 states where it said the election was rigged.
The states where the CPC is alleging substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act and other irregularities are: Lagos, Bayelsa, Kaduna, Sokoto, Nasarawa, Kwara, Adamawa, Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Enugu and Cross River.
Others are: Rivers, Ebonyi, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo Anambra, Benue and Plateau states as well as the FCT.
In the petition anchored on two grounds and filed by Mr. Ebun Shofunde (SAN), Abubakar Malami (SAN) and Alasa Ismail, the CPC is asking the tribunal to set aside the presidential election and organise a fresh election between the CPC and the PDP.
The CPC also urges the tribunal to hold that Jonathan and his running mate, Namadi Sambo, were not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election.
The CPC plans to prove that there was substantial variation in the voters’ register used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the conduct of the presidential and governorship elections. To that extent, says the party, INEC and its chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, unlawfully manipulated the register to the advantage of Jonathan and Sambo.
The petitioner also alleged that ballot papers were used at polling stations other than the original places they were made for.
The CPC alleged also that there was under usage of ballot papers at some polling stations, adding that such papers were moved to various polling units in facilitation of ballot stuffing in favour of the PDP.
It said there was significant number of ballot papers missing in some polling units that were never accounted for. This, the CPC said, ultimately affected the result of the presidential poll.
The petitioner urged the tribunal to declare that Jonathan and Sambo were not duly elected.
It also urged the tribunal to declare that Jonathan did not fulfil the requirement of Section 134 (2) of the 1999 Constitution.
That Jonathan did not score the highest votes cast, did not meet the one-quarter mandatory votes cast in addition to scoring two-thirds votes cast in all the states of the federation and the FCT.
That it may be determined that the result declared by Jega on April 18, 2011 by which Jonathan was returned as elected president is wrongful, invalid and unlawful.
That the election held on April 16, 2011 did not produce a winner as contemplated by the provision of the 1999 Constitution.
The tribunal should therefore, direct Jega to arrange another election between the petitioner and the PDP in conformity with the provision of Section 134(4) of the 1999 Constitution, said the CPC.
The party has lined up 151 witnesses to prosecute its case.
The PDP has also raised a legal team to challenge Buhari’s result in the North.
It has hired forensic express to analyse six million of Buhari’s 12 million votes and to prove under age voting in the North.
Buhari won 12,214,853 to Jonathan’s 22,495,187 votes.
It was Buhari’s third attempt in a row at becoming Nigerian elected president. He was the Military Head of State between January 1984 and August 26, 1985.
The CPC accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of frustrating its efforts to file the petition. It claimed that all entreaties to get sensitive materials to use in arguing its case proved abortive.
In an exparte application filed last Friday, the CPC asked the tribunal to compel INEC to release certain sensitive materials used during the polls to it.
CPC National Chairman Prince Tony Momoh said yesterday in a statement that the party decided to go to the tribunal to point out that lapses observed before and during the elections "were not adequately addressed, if at all".
The statement reads: "Today, Sunday May 8, 2011, our great party, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), puts its name in the history books of this great but highly stressed and manipulated country to draw attention to persisting injustices that a few have visited on the many. The few are the ruling elite who have refused to access power through obedience to the laws of the land but rather in breach of them. When we intimated INEC of the abuses we noticed even before the elections were started in early April, we were assured in writing that the lapses would be addressed.
"That we are in court today points to the fact that those lapses were not adequately addressed if at all. We said from the outset and still believe that elections in Nigeria can be free and fair only when people who are registered to vote are allowed to vote, that the votes are counted and that the votes count in the choice of those who seek their mandate.
"We say the results announced to the world were manipulated, where the elections took place, between the polling units and the collation centres.
"We have made certain demands on INEC to ensure that the materials listed for inspection for use in our petition against the election are available at INEC National Headquarters to be accessed. We will not accept any diversion being introduced into this matter by INEC asking us to go to their state electoral offices in the country. We will insist on examination of the documents at INEC’s National Headquarters. For example, we are aware that the original of forms EC8D and EC8E are with INEC here in Abuja. Form EC8D is the summary of results of all local governments in each state, and form EC8E is a summary of results of all the states of the Federation and the FCT.
"We are not just shouting wolf by going to court. The PDP and all other stakeholders in the Nigerian Enterprise have asked us to go to court. Our candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, says he is not going to court, and that between 2003 and 2007, he was in court for a total of 50 months.
"But we, the party that sponsored him and his running mate, Pastor Tunde Bakare, have decided to go to court to question the conduct of an election that has been trumpeted to the world as free, fair and credible.
"We are even encouraged by what the newspapers have published that the ruling party has packaged a legal team to question the scores credited to our candidate in his areas of strength. This is acceptance that the elections were flawed.
"The outcome of the case will no doubt enrich our electoral case law, especially in the area of forensic examination of fingerprints on the ballot papers.
"If we want to grow this country, we must clean up that area which has to do with the procedures for choosing our leaders. We want to contribute to the fulfillment of this dream.
In the ex-parte application filed last Friday, the party is praying for an order of the court directing the commission to seal all the Direct Data Capturing Machines (DDC machine), ballot papers and ballot boxes used in the election so as to preserve them for forensic test.
The defendants are the INEC, its National Chairman (Prof. Attahiru Jega), Jonathan, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) for the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The ex-parte motion was brought pursuant to Sections 77(1) and 151 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), Order 26 Rule 8 of the Federal High Court (civil procedure) Rules 2009.
The applicant also wants an order directing INEC and Jega to produce for inspection and permit it to take copies of the documents/materials/ballot papers used in the election as shown out in the schedule to the motion. (The Nation)