Nigerian tribunal upholds President Buhari’s election

Thursday September 12 2019

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on June 12, 2019. A tribunal on September 11, 2019 upheld his election as head of state. PHOTO | PIUS UTOMI EKPEI | AFP 

MOHAMMED MOMOH
By MOHAMMED MOMOH
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Abuja,

A tribunal on Wednesday upheld the election of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, dismissing the opposition party’s petition to overturn the election.

Buhari, 76, was duly elected in the February 23, 2019 poll, the five-member Presidential Election Petition Tribunal said. Buhari won with 56 per cent of the vote.

Buhari has maintained that the election was free and fair.

Former vice president Atiku Abubakar, who came in second with 41 per cent, and his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), challenged the election, citing voting irregularities. They wanted the election nullified and Atiku declared winner.

But the tribunal held that Abubakar, 72, and PDP failed to prove their accusations of election irregularities, including voter intimidation.

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The petitioners had also claimed that Buhari did not meet the academic qualification to vie for the position. But the tribunal held that evidence before the court shows that Buhari obtained the Cambridge West African Examination Council (WAEC) certificate.

The PDP in a statement on Wednesday rejected the ruling and vowed to lodge an appeal at the country's highest court.

Buhari in a statement on Wednesday welcomed the ruling, saying it was "victory for Nigerians who trooped out to overwhelmingly elect him."

While commending the judiciary for "dispensing justice without fear or favour," the president urged his opponents to join him in the task of moving Nigeria forward.

- Additional reporting by AFP

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