The Hope Democratic Party (HDP) has urged the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja, to declare its presidential candidate, Albert Owuru, as the President, saying its candidate had emerged as Nigeria’s President in a referendum held on February 16, 2019.
The party, through its only witness, Yusuf Ibrahim, stated this on Monday.
The petitioners – HDP and Owuru – on Monday, opened and closed their case with the only one witness and some documents tendered as exhibits.
The documents which were admitted as exhibits by the five-man tribunal, led by Justice Mohammed Garba, comprised some copies of newspapers, a document titled, ‘Citizen Observers Referendum Election Right Protection of Nigeria,’ and Independent National Electoral Commission’s ‘final list of presidential candidates.’
The respondents – President Muhammadu Buhari, INEC and the All Progressives Congress – said they would not call any witness to defend the case and urged the tribunal to order the filing of final addresses.
The tribunal subsequently fixed August 5, 2019, for the adoption of final addresses by the parties.
The petitioners are challenging the victory of Buhari and the APC in the last presidential election on the grounds that the rescheduling of the poll from February 16, 2019, to February 23, 2019, was done without basis.
They contended that with the rescheduling, the presidential election was deemed “abandoned” and paved the way for an alleged “people’s controlled affirmative referendum election” which they said, by 50 million votes, validated Owuru as the elected President.
They claimed that the said referendum was conducted by Citizen Observers Referendum Election Right Protection of Nigeria on February 16, 2019, the date originally scheduled for the presidential poll.
At the opening of the petitioners’ case on Monday, the petitioners’ lawyer, Eze Nnayenlugo, led Ibrahim to adopt his earlier statement on oath as his testimony.
During cross-examination by the APC’s lawyer, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), Ibrahim confirmed that only INEC had the power to conduct an election in Nigeria, but added, “We have referendum where people’s voice should be heard.”
The lawyer asked if the referendum was celestial, not terrestrial? Was it something that happened in the spiritual realm?”
Responding, the witness said, “It was a physical one and not spiritual.”
Asked if the referendum held on the internet, he said “no”.
Asked if it held “on INEC server,” he said “no”.
Under cross-examination by Buhari’s lawyer, Yusuf Ali (SAN), Ibrahim said he voted at the alleged February 16, 2019 referendum.
He also said he was in Nigeria on February 23, 2019 and voted during the presidential and National Assembly elections which held that day.
Also asked if he was aware that that the 1st respondent, Buhari, was elected and declared the winner in the presidential election conducted on February 23, 2019, he said “yes.”
He confirmed that he had no document attached to his witness statement on oath as evidence for the 50 million votes allegedly polled by his party’s candidate at the alleged presidential referendum.
He said the documents he had in relation to the said referendum were with his lawyers.
Under cross-examination by INEC’s lawyer, Mr Yunus Usman (SAN), Ibrahim confirmed that he was aware that “it is only INEC that can conduct election today in Nigeria”.
He also confirmed that his party was not laying claim to victory in the February 23, 2019 presidential election.
The petitioners’ lawyer, Nnayenlugo, subsequently tendered some exhibits, to which the respondents’ lawyers objected their admissibility but opted to reserve the grounds of their objection till the final address stage.
The tribunal, through Justice Garba, ordered the parties to exchange their papers between Monday and July 27.
It fixed August 5, 2019 for the adoption of final addresses by the parties.
APC thanks Bayelsa, Kogi electorate over victory
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has thanked the people of Kogi and Bayelsa over its resounding victory in the governorship election in both states.
In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, APC congratulated all Nigerians, its teeming supporters and members for the hard-earned election victory.
According to Issa-Onilu, indeed, these victories are as significant as are well-deserved.
“In Kogi, our great party is delighted that the good people of the state ignored the propaganda and clannish campaign by the opposition and reelected our candidate, Gov. Yahaya Bello. We cannot thank the Kogi electorate enough.
“Although the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the senatorial election in Kogi West inconclusive, we are confident that when the supplementary election is held, our candidate, Sen. Smart Adeyemi will reclaim his earlier stolen mandate.
“Our party’s victory in Bayelsa is even more of a landmark. Against all odds and in defiance of the established but retrogressive political order since 1999, Bayelsans decided through their votes to overwhelmingly elect our governorship candidate, David Lyon,” he said.
He said Bayelsans decided to ditch the disastrous regime of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and pitch their tent with a progressive platform.
According to him, this is a sacred trust our candidate and party will not take for granted.
“The party expresses its profound appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for his moral support for our candidates; the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, our governors and other party leaders for their support and distinguished presence at our rallies in Kogi and Bayelsa.
“We also thank the First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Muhammadu Buhari; wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo for rallying massive support during the final grand rally in Lokoja, Kogi State.
“We appreciate the tireless efforts of our National Campaign Councils for Kogi and Bayelsa, headed by Gov. Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna and Gov. Mohammed Badaru of Jigawa,” Issa-Onilu said.
He said that the party dedicated its election successes to the good people of the two states with a solemn promise that victorious candidates would justify the confidence reposed in them.
“There remains much to be done in ensuring the sanctity of our electioneering process, particularly partisan approach to elections.
“The PDP must begin to address itself to the new reality that votes are beginning to count. PDP’s retrogressive tactics of massive thumb printing, ballot box snatching, vote-buying, thuggery, violence and other illegal schemes will no longer win election for them,” he said.
INEC declares Yahaya Bello winner of Kogi Governorship election
The All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the Kogi election, Yahaya Bello, has been declared as the winner of the exercise on held on Saturday.
The Independent National Electoral Commission Returning Officer for the election, Professor Ibrahim Umar, said that Bello polled a massive 406,222 votes to defeat his contestant, Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 189,704 votes to emerge second.
Professor Umar said Bello had been declared winner, having scored the highest number of votes during the poll conducted on Saturday.
The INEC official said the total number of cancelled is 149,576 and that the margin of lead is 216,518.
Details to come shortly…
APC supporters celebrate on the streets of Yenagoa
After the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Mr David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the governorship election in Bayelsa, scores of the party’s supporters stormed the streets in celebration of the victory.
INEC’s Returning Officer, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, Vice-Chancellor, University of Benin, who announced the result, said APC polled 352,552 votes to win in the election.
He said APC’s closest rival, Duoye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polled 143, 172 votes.
Orumwnese said APC won the election in six Local Government Areas, while PDP won in two.
See photos from the streets below:
Photos: Oluwafemi Dawodu
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