The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has dismissed the petition of the Hope Democratic Party’s challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 Presidential Election.
The presidential candidate of the HDP, Ambrose Owuru, and his party had on March 7 filed their petition seeking the nullification of President Buhari’s election on grounds that the election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was illegal, null and void on account of its postponement from February 16 to 23.
They also asked the five-man panel to declare them the winner of the election having been elected president by 50 million Nigerians through a referendum conducted on February 16.
They specifically prayed the Tribunal to order their inauguration as president within 48 hours of hearing their petition based on the referendum.
Delivering judgment on Thursday in Abuja, a five-man panel of judges led by Justice Mohammed Garbage dismissed the petition in a unanimous decision.
The Tribunal chairman held that the petition was based on a purported referendum held on February 16, 2019.
According to Justice Garbage, the said referendum was outside the jurisdiction of the Tribunal whose duty was to determine whether a person was validly elected into the office of the President of Nigeria or not.
He said the petition which also challenged the postponement of the presidential election was at best a pre-election matter and ought to be presented at a Federal or State High Court, and not the Tribunal.
The Tribunal chairman further held that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations that they were excluded by INEC in the February 23 poll.
The ruling comes two weeks after the Tribunal reserved its judgement in the petition following the adoption of final written addresses b parties in the suit.