President Muhammadu Buhari says the ruling of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on the February 23, 2019 poll, is victory for Nigerians who trooped out to overwhelmingly elect him for a second term in office.
President Buhari’s reaction was contained in a press release signed by his Special Adviser on Media & Publicity.
“Good conscience fears no evil report. I was unperturbed all along, because I knew Nigerians freely gave us the mandate. We are now vindicated,” the President declares.
He dedicates the victory to God, and to Nigerians, while also commending the judiciary for “dispensing justice without fear or favour.”
President Buhari extends a hand of fellowship to those who had felt aggrieved at the outcome of the election, and went to court, noting that it was within their democratic rights.
He notes, however, that with the pronouncement of the judiciary, “it is time for the country to move forward as one cohesive body, putting behind us all bickering and potential distractions over an election in which Nigerians spoke clearly and resoundingly.”
It will be recalled that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had challenged President Buhari’s reelection at the tribunal.
The PDP and its candidate had argued that President Buhari did not qualify to contest Presidential election, saying he did not have Secondary School certificate; that he the election was marred with irregularities; that INEC was supposed to have collated results electronically on a central server among other claims.
The tribunal had dismissed PDP claims on the grounds that issue of electronic transmission of results and central server was never provided in the INEC manual; that President Buhari was not just qaulified educationally but eminently qualified.
The court went ahead to reveal that Petitioners claims actually served as a proof of President Buhari’s qualification.
The court also dismissed the claim of electoral malpractices and use to security agencies to manipulate electioneering process for lack of evidence.
Meanwhile the court also upheld that Alhaji Atiku was qualified to contest presidential election, describing All Progressives claim of his Cameronian descent as diversionary while upholding his challenge against President Buahi at the tribunal.
In a swift reaction to the ruling, the PDP had rejected the verdict, as it had also resolved to pursue its case to the Supreme court.