…..petitioner insists he defeated Buhari in a Referendum with 50million votes
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—-In a dramatic twist on Thursday, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, rejected a strange motion that sought to sack President Muhammadu Buhari and declare Chief Ambrose of the Hope Democratic Party, HDP, President.
Owuru, who was the presidential candidate of the HDP, had in the motion dated June 17, adduced reason why the tribunal should invoke its powers and order the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, to within 48 hours, swear him in to replace Buhari.
In the motion he predicated on eight grounds, Owuru, told the tribunal that he defeated Buhari with over 50million votes in a Referendum he said was coordinated on February 16, by Citizen and Observer Networks.
He said the Referendum took place after the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, upon realising that President Buhari would be defeated at the poll, unilaterally postponed the originally scheduled presidential election, till February 23.
In the application he entitled “Notice of Intention to Contend”, Owuru insisted that he won the Referendum that held after INEC postponed the presidential poll without a cogent reason.
Aside seeking to be sworn-in as President, Owuru prayed the tribunal to nullify the outcome of the February 23 presidential election that was declared in favour of President Buhari on the premise that it held in substantial non compliance with the Electoral Act.
Meanwhile, in ruling on Thursday, the Justice Garba-led panel dismissed the application it described as “alien and extraneous” to all the laws in Nigeria.
The panel held that Owuru’s request was not supported by any provision of either Electoral Act or the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The tribunal said the jurisdiction conferred on it by section 239(1) (a) of the Constitution was limited to the determination of election of persons to the office of the President and Vice President, as court of first instance, saying it was not empowered to consider the issue relating to the purported Referendum.
It upheld preliminary objections President Buhari, INEC and the All Progressives Congress, filed to challenge the competence of the motion they argued was meaningless.