As D-Day dawns on Wednesday, September 11, 2019, Nigerians from all walks of life await with bated breaths the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. In the ring and on the hot seat are two seasoned politicians from Nigeria’s two dominant political parties.
In the blue corner is President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC). His opponent in the red corner is none other than Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
At stake is Nigeria’s biggest job: the chance to wear the toga of first citizen of Africa’s most populous country.
A feisty pugilist on his own right, Atiku is adamant that he has a case. The former Vice President and his party, the PDP, had filed a petition against Buhari’s emergence as President. As a matter of fact, Atiku believes the events of February 23, 2019 ought to have ended in victory for him.
However, the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) thought otherwise. Nigerians were greeted with a second term for Mr. Buhari. INEC declared the incumbent’s re-election bid a success. In fact, Mr. Buhari was said to have defeated his closest rival, Mr. Atiku, by over three million votes.
Specifically, the margin of victory was 15,191,847 votes for Mr. Buhari as against Atiku’s 11, 262,978 votes.
Nigerians love a good movie…
Interestingly, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal had played its part in raising the suspense for this epoch-making day. In a move akin to that of Ebuka, the Big Brother Naija host, the Tribunal had chosen to reserve judgment on the appeal after parties had adopted their addresses. This decision, taken on August 21st, had seen a number of Nigerians draw in a collective sharp intake of breath. It was like waiting for Godot.
As a matter of fact, electoral contests are renowned to bring out the best in the best legal luminaries.
Indeed, Nigerians have followed keenly as brick-bats have been exchanged in the tribunal.
Wole Olanipekun, counsel for Mr. Buhari had, among other things, described the Atiku challenge as a sham. “No case here. We’ve got this,” seems to be the body language.
On the other hand, Livy Uzoukwu, another courtroom-hardened SAN, is confident Nigerians will see an upset today, an Atiku-flavored-one.
Certainly, Nigerians love a good movie.
This one has all the trappings of a block-buster…