The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has reserved judgment in the petition filed by Atiku Abubakar and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the electoral victory of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-member panel disclosed this after adopting the final written arguments of all parties involved in the case on Wednesday, August 21, 2019.
"Judgment in this petition is hereby reserved and will be delivered on the date to be sent to counsel for the parties," Justice Garba said.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared President Buhari the winner of the February 23, 2019 election with 15,191,847 votes. Atiku finished second with 11,262,978 votes.
The former vice president filed a petition against the result in March, alleging that the election was marred by irregularities in several states designed to hand the victory to the 76-year-old president.
However, while delivering final arguments on Wednesday, INEC counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN), described the petition as worthless, noting that the petitioners failed to prove anything in the case it presented to the court.
When he initially filed his petition in March, Atiku claimed that he actually won the election with 1.6 million more votes than Buhari according to an internal compilation of results he claimed was obtained from INEC's server.
He claimed he scored 18,356,732 votes while Buhari scored 16,741,430 votes.
INEC has vehemently denied the existence of the server result, noting that electronic transmission of results is unknown to the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
Usman noted this in his final argument on Wednesday, pointing out that even Atiku's witnesses admitted under cross examination that the act and the commission's manual only provide for manual transmission which is what he said INEC did.
"The issue of transmitting results electronically or through server has been the greatest lie of this century because my lords they say the results transmitted were only Atiku and Buhari whereas about 70 political parties participate in the election," he said.
He urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition which he said failed in its attempt to "test the water with two legs".
Atiku insists he beat Buhari
The petitioners' lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), urged the tribunal to uphold their case by either declaring them the winner of the election or ordering for a fresh one to be conducted.
Despite their submissions about the server result, the petitioners noted in their final written address that Atiku actually scored a total of 9,426,082 votes while Buhari scored 9,203,750.
They said the former vice president was robbed of victory through wrongful computation of results in 11 states namely Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Yobe, and Zamfara.
The petitioners also insisted that President Buhari was not qualified to contest the election, accusing him of presenting fake credentials to INEC.
However, Buhari's lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost because the petitioners failed to provide any reasonable evidence to support their claims, especially on the server.
APC's counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), added that Atiku failed to adequately prove that he was qualified to contest in the election.
Buhari and the APC had claimed that the former vice president was not qualified to contest because he was born in Adamawa State at a time when it was Northern Cameroon before it voted during a 1961 referendum to align with Nigeria.
While speaking on Wednesday, Fagbemi said Atiku failed to prove that he was indeed qualified.
"What we need is minimal proof. Nothing was put forward in the petitioners' written address to counter this. And, I must commend them, because they have nothing to offer," he said.
He also insisted that the petitioners failed to prove that there was substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act in the conduct of the 2019 presidential election, and asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition.
When Buhari closed defence of his case before the tribunal on August 1, he had called only seven people to testify.
Atiku and the PDP, on the other hand, called 62 people to testify in their favour. INEC failed to call anyone to testify on its behalf.