The Presidency has welcomed the elucidation of the Supreme Court ruling in the PDP petition, saying the final verdict is an affirmation of popular will of Nigerians.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, made this position known in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
He stated that the final verdict had reiterated that “the onus of proof must necessarily fall on those that challenge the vote.
“Allegations must be substantiated if they are to hold, and this requires producing credible witnesses that verify key claims. As the Supreme Court has stated, the case failed this test.’’
On the issue of qualifications, the presidential aide maintained that President Buhari had a long history of service to the nation, saying “the questioning of this fact seems to fly in the face of all evidence’’.
According to him, now it is time for the PDP to take up the service mandated by this election.
He said: “The legislative agenda of the ninth assembly is ambitious in both size and scope.
“It is critical the opposition is there to scrutinise bills and policies, rather than preoccupy themselves with unsustainable court cases.
He commended the leadership of the opposition for taking the legal option in the pursuance of their grievances over the outcome of the 2019 general elections.
Shehu also lauded the courage of the courts to arrive at “the right conclusion given manifest and subtle pressures to do otherwise’’.
He added: “We appreciate the PDP and their candidate for taking these claims to courts rather than expressing them in other ways, but now Nigeria needs a robust and rigorous opposition. The nation needs to move on.
“While it is correct to give credit to the courts for affirming this electoral victory-and we commend the courage of the bench to arrive at the right conclusion given manifest and subtle pressures to do otherwise.
“The reality is that courts were convinced by arguments from the lawyers representing the APC and its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari that results reflected the true wishes of a majority of our citizens.
“President Buhari won four million more votes than his closest rival, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the February poll.
“No serious electoral observers have challenged this result. And now the Supreme Court has explained why the PDP appeal is unsubstantiated. We hope this finally puts the matter behind us.
“We should now grasp this moment to move forward – together.’’
NAN reports that the apex court on Friday ruled that President Buhari was “eminently qualified” to contest the Feb. 23 presidential election.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, prepared the full judgment of the apex court which is being read by Justice John Okoro.
The full judgment delivered on Friday was to provide explanations for the apex court’s summary decision of Oct. 30 which dismissed the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar challenging the victory of Buhari at the Feb. 23 presidential poll.
In the full judgment of the apex court affirmed the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which held that Buhari possessed the requisite educational qualification to contest the poll.
NAN also reports that it held that the Nigerian Constitution only required a candidate contesting the presidential election to be educated up to secondary education even when the candidate does not possess the certificate.(NAN)