Declare me president – Atiku tells tribunal

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, has asked the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to declare him the winner of the February 25 presidential election having won 21 states, in line with the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Atiku made the request on Friday, July 21 in his final address in support of his joint petition with the PDP seeking the nullification of INEC’s declaration of Bola Tinubu as winner of the poll.

This was as he stated that Tinubu, was not qualified to contest the election “having regard to an order of criminal forfeiture against him arising from a drug-related offence, his declaration of allegiance to a country other than Nigeria and acquisition of citizenship of another country and presenting a forged certificate to the first respondent (INEC)”.

In the final address settled by his lead counsel, Chris Uche SAN, Atiku said that INEC’s assertion that he won in 25 states was neither disputed, retracted, debunked nor claimed to be error through the proceedings of the tribunal so far.

INEC had in its response to Atiku’s petition, asserted that the PDP presidential candidate won 21 states of the Federation in the last presidential poll.

The former Vice President said that since the electoral commission, which on its own averments claimed that he won those states and didn’t rebut the assertion throughout the proceedings, the tribunal should proceed to uphold the declaration.

The final written address read in part; “Very importantly, the 1st Respondent (INEC) who conducted the election made an open admission in paragraph 18 of its Reply to the Petition, where it unequivocally stated thus:

“The 1st Respondent further avers that in compliance with extant laws and regulations, it diligently discharged its duties when it collated the 1st Petitioner’s (Atiku) scores at the election, which aggregate to 6,984,520, winning only 21 states, to wit: Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Osun, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara.

“Indeed, as admitted by the first Respondent (INEC), the first Petitioner (Atiku) won in these 21 states. It is important to note that throughout the trial, the first Respondent (INEC) neither refuted or countermanded this critical averment nor denied it.

“We urge your Lordship to hold that this constitutes an admission that requires no further proof. It also constitutes an admission against interest.”