The General Secretary, National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Chief Ayo Opadokun, has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the Presidential Election Tribunal on Wednesday as a victory for democracy.

President Buhari Muhammed spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Wednesday 11th September 2019. News Agency Of Nigeria reports that the tribunal had dismissed the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, challenging the victory of Buhari in the Feb. 23 poll.

Chief Ayo Opadokun said that the judiciary had discharged its responsibility as an arbiter between the two political parties. He said I believe that this is a victory for democracy because the judiciary had discharged the Legal Obligation as an arbiter between two political parties.

From the pronouncement on every issue that was made in the petition, the judiciary did not cover up any thing, For example, the judges examined every allegation made and it established that most of the allegations were based on hear say. They were statements made up by third parties and once you make allegations on criminal conduct, unleashing terror on voters, changing figures, snatching ballot box, just to mention a few, all these are criminal matters.

The standard is that whenever you make allegations of crime in civil proceedings, the standard of proof is to prove beyond reasonable doubt. Chief Opadokun said this was established in the case of Omoboriowo vs Ajasin by the late Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Bello Muhammad , and subsequent cases.

He also said the allegations that figures were falsified were not enough as the petitioner had to prove these beyond reasonable doubt. Chief Opadokun, however, said the petitioner could still approach the Supreme Court for a resolution of the matter if unsatisfied with the tribunal’s judgment.

He said with the judgement, however, the judges had made a pronouncement that would guide political parties and their candidates when approaching elections and preparing their petitions. As a lawyer, I am proudly behind the reasoning for the judgment on the presidential election that was given today (Wednesday) in an eight-hour plus sitting.

They also provided a legal rationale for their conclusion and the judgement they arrived at. “For example, the judges rejected INEC’s position on the argument on the eligibility of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the former Vice President;  they believe that INEC was wrong in the preliminary objection,” he said.

Chief Opadokun said the judges had presented the judiciary in a very positive light because they did not leave out any matter of importance.


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