After one week of anxiety and speculations, the Presidential Election Petition tribunal Tuesday, announced it will deliver judgment on Wednesday in the petition of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar challenging the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the February 23, presidential poll.
Contrary to the speculations across political divide that the verdict may be handed down this Friday, the tribunal in a notice of hearing conveyed to parties in the petition through text messages and telephone calls, announced its resolution to make its findings and final decision on the petition public tomorrow.
It would be recalled that Atiku and PDP had March 18 dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) before the Justice Mohammed Garba led tribunal, praying for nullification of Buhari’s election on various grounds ranging from Buhari’s non qualification to stand for the election, election malpractices, alteration of election results and violence amongst others.
To establish his petition, Atiku during the hearing called 62 witnesses and tendered several documents and video clips before the tribunal, while Buhari on the other hand called 7 witnesses and also tendered documents to prove that he genuinely won the election.
The APC and INEC did not call any witness but chose to use the evidence of the petitioners’ Witnesses to support their defense.
The petitioners had at the last leg of the hearing in the petition alleged Buhari used fundamental falsehood to secure clearance from INEC to participate in the poll.
Atiku in his final address insisted that Buhari, as candidate of APC lied on oath in his form CF001 presented to INEC before standing for the presidential election.
In the final address presented on his behalf by his lead counsel, Dr Levy Uzuokwu SAN, Atiku drew the attention of the Tribunal to a portion of his INEC form where he claimed to have three different certificates; comprising Primary School leaving certificate, WAEC certifcate and Officers Cadet certifcate.
The petitioners said it was shocking and surprising that, “No Provisional certificate, no certified true copy of the certifcates, no photocopy of certifcates and infact, no electronic version of any of the certifcates was presented by Buhari throughout the hearing of the petition to dispute the claim of the petitioners.
“More worrisome is the fact that Buhari’s own witness Major General Paul Tafa Rtd, who joined the Nigerian Army with him in 1962 told the tribunal that they were never asked to submit their certificates to the Nigerian Army Board as claimed by Buhari in his form CF001.
“At any rate the Secretary of the Nigerian Army Board, Olatunde Olaleye had in a statement clarified that Buhari had no single certificate in his personal file with the Nigerian Army”.
Atiku, therefore, urged the tribunal to nullify the participation of Buhari in the election on the grounds that Buhari lied on oath to deceive Nigerians and to secure unlawful qualification for the election.
The former Vice President informed the tribunal that the claim of Buhari that he can read and write in English language as enough qualification for him was of no moment because ordinary artisans on the streets of Nigeria can also do so, adding that a grave allegation bordering on certificate was not addressed by Buhari as required by law.
The PDP presidential candidate also faulted the claim of INEC that it has no central server, adding that server is a storage facility including computer where database of registered voters, number of permanent voter card and election results amongst others are stored for references.
He said the claim by INEC that it has no device like server to store information, “is laughable, tragic and a story for the dogs”.
Atiku’s lawyer in the final address debunked the claim of INEC that collation and transmission of results electronically was prohibited by law in Nigeria.
He asserted that by Electoral Amendment Act of March 26, 2015, the use of electronics became law and was officially gazetted for the country, adding that section 9 of the Act which made provision for electronic collation of results replaced section 52 which hitherto prohibited the use of electronics and which INEC erroneously held that electronic results transmission is prohibited.
He, therefore, urged the tribunal to uphold the petition and nullified the participation of Buhari in the election on the grounds that he was not qualified to have stood for the election, in addition to malpractices that prompted his declaration as winner of the election.
However, INEC represented by Yunus Usman SAN, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost because the electoral body conducted the election in total compliance with the Nigerian constitution and Electoral Act 2010 and urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition.
Usman insisted that INEC did not transmit election results electronically because doing so is prohibited by law and that the Commission did not call any witness because there was no need to do so.
In his defence, President Buhari through his counsel Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, argued that atiku’s petition was liable to be dismissed because it is lacking in evidence, merit and substance and that the petition is ill-advised and signified nothing.
Olanipekun cited section 131 of the Constitution which stipulated a minimum of secondary school attendance to qualify for election in Nigeria, adding that Buhari cannot go beyond that and that he does not need to tender or attached certificate before he can get qualification for any election.
He averred that there was nothing in law to persuade the tribunal to nullify the February 23, presidential election as pleaded by Atiku and urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost.
The APC represented by Prince Lateef Olasunkanmi Fagbemi SAN, in his own submission said the petition lacked quality evidence that could warrant the nullification of the election as pleaded by the petitioners and urged the tribunal to throw out the petition as long as its hand can do with huge cost.
Fagbemi told the tribunal that the petitioners called 62 witnesses only in a failed attempt to prove their allegations concerning 119,793 pulling units, 8, 809 wards and 774 local government areas and local area councils being challenged by the petitioners.
He added that the witnesses were from 11 states only including the FCT. Fagbemi further argued that the allegations of non accreditation, invalid votes, deliberate depletion of petitioners vote, anomalies, over voting, wrongful collation of results in favour of Buhari and APC as well as corrupt practices have been effectively denied by the two respondents as being unfounded and non existent.
Fagbemi contended that the failure to call witnesses across the states of the federation by the petitioners to establish their allegations as envisaged by law is fatal to the petition and made it liable for dismissal by the tribunal.
But the Tribunal Chairman after taking submissions from all parties had announced that judgment in the petition has been reserved and that the date for its delivery would be communicated to parties.
At the time of this report security has been beefed up within the vicinity of the Court of Appeal Headquarters, serving as venue for the tribunal.
Suspected serial killer admitted killing seven women in Lagos, Owerri and Portharcourt hotels
A suspected serial killer, Gracious David-West, 39, arrested by the police has admitted killing at least seven women in hotels in Lagos, Owerri and Port Harcourt.
TIMELY POST learnt that the suspect was arrested on Thursday, following CCTV footage which showed him leaving an unnamed hotel in Port Harcourt, after he allegedly killed the lady he slept with the previous night.
Mr David-West confessed to killing the seven women to journalists on Friday after his arrest by the Rivers Police command.
“So far, I’ve killed five girls in Port Harcourt; one in Owerri (Imo) and another in Lagos. I started the killing in Lagos.
“I took N52,000 from the bank account of the first girl I killed in Lagos. Thereafter, I went to Port Harcourt, then to Owerri and later returned to Port Harcourt.
“After I kill a girl, I collect her phone, and sell the phone at Waterlines and MTN office (areas in Port Harcourt).
“I met the last girl (latest victim) at a club in Port Harcourt,” Mr David-West told reporters.
Mr David-West, who hails from Buguma in Asari Toru Local Government Area in Rivers, further gave horrific details on how he murdered his victims in cold-blood.
The suspect, who did not betray any emotion, said he usually picked his victims from clubs and drinking spots.
“I take a girl into the hotel, we eat, make love and sleep. Later, I wake up in the middle of the night and put a kitchen knife on her neck, ordering her not to shout.
“I threaten her that if she shouts that I will kill her. I promise her that if she cooperates that I will not kill her, so, the girl, out of fear will not shout.
“After the girl relaxes, then, I will tear the bed’s pillow case and tie her hands and legs, so that she will not struggle. Thereafter, I strangle her,” he confessed.
Mr David-West said before strangulating his victims that they usually pleaded for their lives by offering him money as well as details of their bank account.
Read also: Nigerian senator involved in auto crash responding to treatment – Aide
He said after obtaining the victim’s Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card and pin and other belongings that he still went ahead to kill the women.
“So, I collect their ATM pins, and after dawn, I go to ATM to withdraw money from the account. I usually use the money to get other girls.
“I don’t know what is making me to kill people. Immediately the urge comes, I kill, and after killing, I regret and feel sober. But later, I will still go and kill again,” he said.
Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura, said Mr David-West was arrested by cops on routine stop and search along the Ogoni stretch of the East/West Road.
According to him, the suspect was arrested inside a commercial bus that was travelling to Uyo from Port Harcourt.
“The suspect is definitely not alone in these killings. So far, three suspects are in our custody and are being investigated in connection with these killings,” the police chief said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that five deaths in Port Harcourt sparked outrage in Nigeria, with protests erupting across the city by women activists fearing a rise in killings targeting suspected sex workers.
Police investigating the murders immediately launched a manhunt for the suspect and later arrested him while he attempted to flee Port Harcourt to neighbouring Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State.
Police arraigns 15 for allegedly plotting to kill Patience, wife of former President Jonathan
Authorities of the Bayelsa State Police Command have arraigned 15 persons before the State High Court sitting in Yenagoa over alleged plot to kill the former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and rob her of her valuables worth over N.3billion.
A 17-count charge of conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit felony with armed robbery, malicious injury to property, conspiracy to commit felony, stealing and burglary were filed against the suspects.
Those arraigned included Golden Vivian (40 years, Erama Deborah (45yrs),Precious Kingsley (20yrs), Vincent Olabiyi (28yrs),Ebuka Cosmos (25yrs), Williams Alamo (29yrs),Tamunokuro Abaku (32yrs) and Boma Oba (42yrs).
Others include Emmanuel Aginwa(42yrs), Emeka Benson (33yrs), Tamunosiki Achese Frisberesima (30yrs), Wariboko Salome (28yrs), Sahabi Lima (35yrs),Reginald Sunday(20yrs) and John Dashe(39yrs).
The charge sheet was signed by S. A. Ofoegbu Esq. O.C. Legal State Criminal Investigation Department, Yenagoa Bayelsa State.
Defending the accused persons are Stanley Damabide, Padiowei P.P. Tamuno, E. Samuel, Chuks Momoh.
They all pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
In the charge sheet, the count 1 accused the arraigned persons of conspiring to commit murder which is an offence punishable under section 252 of the Criminal code law cap. C14 laws of Bayelsa State.
According to the charge, ”All the accused and some at large, sometime in the month of June, 2019 at Otuoke community in Ogbia local government within the Ogbia Judicial Division of the state high court did conspire to kill Her excellency, Dame Patience Jonathan,former first lady ,there committed an offence.’
”That you and some other persons at large,on the same date and place aforementioned Judicial division of Bayelsa did steal seven gold bangles and jewelries, five Samsung Air Conditioner,Two sets of upholstery chairs,six Samsung flat screen television stands at two hundred Million naira (N200,000,000).These are property of Dame Patience Jonathan and there by committed an offence.”
It would be recalled that operatives of the Operation Puff Adder of the State Police Command had in June arrested some persons over alleged involvement in the illegal entry into his home in Otuoke community in Ogbia local Government area, carting away jewelries, custom made walking stick and other valuables worth over N.3billion.
TIMELY POST gathered that one of the arrested suspects, who is a management staff of the Aridolf Resort, Hotel and Spa owned by the former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan had mysteriously duplicated the keys to the rooms where the valuables were kept and led the forceful entry and gradual looting of the valuables.
It was also gathered that after some domestic staff to the former President discovered he was informed and he quickly called in men of the Bayelsa Police Command to effect their arrest and recover the looted valuables.
Atiku reacts to presidential tribunal judgment, vows to appeal
Atiku Abubakar, 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has finally reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the Presidential Election Tribunal earlier this month.
TIMELY POST had reported that the Justice Mohammed Garba,-led Tribunal dismissed Atiku and PDP petition in its entirety.
The court ruled that Buhari was duly elected as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria during the presidential election held on 23rd February 2019.
The tribunal ruled that electronic transfer of results which was the crux of the opposition’s petition did not take place at any level.
Reacting, Atiku in a series of tweets on Twitter handle on Friday urged Nigerians to continue their support for constitutional order via the courts.
He also thanked the governors elected on the platform of PDP.
Atiku said: “I write to personally thank you for your support for our shared common goal.
“And the solidarity I enjoyed from all walks of life and every strata of society, right from July 21, 2018, when I informed you, the good people of Nigeria, that I would contest the 2019 Presidential election, to Wednesday, September 11, 2019, when the PEPT rendered its verdict.
“Nothing good comes easy, and hard as the task to rid Nigeria from the forces of fascism, and be an instrument for the full restoration of the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria is, your support makes the struggle worthwhile.
“I owe so much to this great land of Nigeria that took me from the streets of Jada, where I sold firewood, to the heights I have attained, by God’s benevolence, in the civil service, in corporate Nigeria, and in public service.
“If I do not play my part in making it possible for other orphaned children, indigent youths and the less privileged, to replicate and even surpass my path to significance, I would have failed my Maker.
“If I do not ensure that the ladder I climbed remains accessible to those at the bottom, middle and top tiers of society, I would not have fulfilled my purpose.
“And only by ensuring that democracy is not just done, but seen to be done, can Nigeria and Nigerians have a sense that this our dear land is indeed a land where Unity, Faith, Peace and Progress reside.
“It is for this, and other patriotic reasons, that I am pursuing this judicial route: To ensure that the votes of Nigerians count and are counted.
“Yes, those who do not want this as Nigeria’s reality will use every trick in the book to undermine, discourage, misinform and mislead, but with God’s help and the support of Nigerians, we will ensure that Nigeria makes a course correction away from tyranny and towards democracy.
“We must return to being Africa’s bastion of democracy, where the right to Freedom of Speech and Freedom after the Speech, are guaranteed.
“We must stand together to pursue this just cause all the way, so that our judiciary are not afraid to do their jobs and have to be wary of blackmail, intimidation, and victimisation.
“I note the immense outpouring of goodwill from ordinary Nigerians in every nook and cranny of Nigeria and from all regions, religions and relationships. Once again I thank you all for your support.
“I also thank the governors elected on the platform of my party, the @OfficialPDPNig, as well as the National Executive Committee, for their unanimous and unambiguous support for the judicial phase of this struggle, especially after it was announced that we would go on to appeal.
“I urge all Nigerians to continue their support for this recourse to constitutional order via the courts. Even if there is little or nothing you can do to ensure that justice is done in Nigeria, just believe that it will happen. Let us never underestimate the effect of our belief.
“Finally, I say to all concerned, that we will all die and give an account of our lives to our Creator. Thank you and may God bless Nigeria.”
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