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It’s bereft of justice, Atiku rejects tribunal judgement

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Thursday rejected the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal judgement that affirmed the victory of President Bola Tinubu in the February 25, 2023, presidential election.

He said the tribunal judgement failed to restore confidence.

“Though the judgement of yesterday is respected, it is a judgement I refused to accept. I refused to accept the judgement because I believe it is bereft of substantial justice,” Atiku said while addressing a world press conference at the PDP headquarters in Abuja.

It was reported that the tribunal threw out the case of Atiku, who is the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, and upheld the victory of Tinubu.

Both Atiku and Obi rejected Wednesday’s judgment of the tribunal affirming the election of Tinubu. The Legal Adviser to the Labour Party, Kehinde Edun, vowed to challenge the judgment at the Supreme Court.

Also, Atiku’s Lead Counsel, Chris Uche, SAN, said he had received instructions from his client to file an appeal at the Supreme Court.

He said “The judgment has been delivered but we have not received justice. Luckily, the law has given us leverage to go on appeal to the Supreme Court. We have instructions from our clients to go to the Supreme Court. The struggle continues.”

The PEPT which began sitting at 9.40am at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, ruled that the petition filed by Atiku and Obi and their parties had no merit and unanimously upheld Tinubu’s electoral victory in the February 25 presidential election.

The five-member panel took turns to dismiss the petitions presented by Atiku and Obi against the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission on March 1, 2023.

The judgment was delivered by the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Haruna Tsammani, assisted by other members of the panel-Justices Stephen Adah, Monsurat Bolaji-Yusuf, Moses Ugo, and Abba Mohammed.

But addressing a press conference on Thursday, Atiku said he was not new to legal battle and he would continue to explore the judiciary for respite.

“However, the disappointment in the verdict of the court can never destroy my confidence in the judiciary.

“Consequently, I have asked my lawyers to activate my constitutionally guaranteed rights of appeal to the higher court, which in this instance, is the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”

He added, “My decision to go to court is anchored in my belief that the court is the sanctuary of justice. The journey of my political career, as you know, holds so much to the courage and fearless decisions of our judiciary.

“Indeed, I am no stranger to legal battles, and I can say that I have a fair idea of how the court system works. All through my career as a politician, I have been a fighter, and I must say that I have found the judiciary as a worthy pillar to rest on in the pursuit of justice.

“The last presidential election in our country and the way it was managed by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, leaves behind unenviable precedents, which I believe the courts have a duty to redress.

“Our gains in ensuring transparent elections through the deployment of technology was heavily compromised by INEC in the way it managed the last presidential election, and I am afraid that the judgement of the court as rendered by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal yesterday, failed to restore confidence in our dreams of free and fair elections devoid of human manipulations.

“Like I did say at the beginning of this legal battle when I instructed my lawyers to file my petition challenging the outcome of the presidential election, my ultimate goal in this pursuit is to ensure that democracy is further strengthened through the principles and processes of fair hearing.”

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