Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Chris Uche, who doubles as the lead counsel for Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Alh. Atiku Abubakar, at the presidential election tribunal, and Bauchi State governor-elect, Bala Mohammed, at the governorship petition tribunal sitting in Bauchi state has expressed optimism of his clients’ victory in court.
Atiku and his party are challenging the outcome of the election on the grounds of alleged massive rigging, malpractices substantial non-compliance with the electoral laws.
In the petition, Atiku and PDP are praying that its candidate be declared winner of the February 23 presidential election.
They are also asking the tribunal to nullify the poll and order for a fresh election that will be conducted in line with the provisions of the electoral laws.
The legal luminary said all the respondents in Atiku’s cases have all filed their responses.
He mentioned President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as the respondents.
Uche added that all processes have been exchanged and very soon, there will be commencement of the pre-hearing session with the actual trial coming after that.
He, however, queried the APC for not addressing some of the issues raised in the petition filed by Atiku.
“It is very unfortunate that they have not addressed the issues we raised rather they are raising issues that we feel are mere distractions. Whether Atiku is a Nigerian citizen or not or whether one of the lawyers who signed the petition, whether he abbreviated his name or not”
“But they are yet to address the issues we raised, mainly the information on the data of INEC, the physical result that INEC gave. They have not reacted to that and all the anomalies we pointed out.
“We are very comfortable and confident with the processes that are before the court of appeal. Very soon, hearing will be commence on that. We are optimistic of victory In both cases”
“Having looked at all the fact in both cases, our position are very strong, we are very confident of defending the mandate of Atiku and Bala victory and we shall come out victorious ”
Meanwhile, Bala ‘s victory is been challenged by Governor Mohammad Abubakar and the APC over alleged rigging.
Uche who spoke at the inauguration of the governor-elect’s legal team in Bauchi, which he heads said Bala has a right to be represented and his mandate defended and protected.
“As we all know Bala Mohammed won all the election but incidentally his opponent has challenged his victory. We are here as his legal team to defend the mandate given to him voluntarily by the people of Bauchi state.
“Our legal team is a highly constituted one, and we have about 60 lawyers with 5 SANs which have been chosen to defend him”
“We have seen a copy of the filed by his opponent, we have also taken a look at it and the area of the complaints and really those are not really complains”
“Since we have just been filed and served a copy of the petition, we have 21 days to file and reply .We are already gathering our materials, the results from all the local government even though they are challenging result from only 3 out of the 20 Local government areas. We will soon file our response and will also take preliminary steps required before the pre-hearing session which will expect to take place in two weeks’ time” He said
On his part, the governor-elect has said he would use every legitimate means at his disposal to defend his electoral mandate.
Inaugurating his legal team, the Governor-elect said, “On behalf of myself, the deputy governor-elect, Baba Tela and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, of Bauchi state, I inaugurate the legal team to fight for us at the tribunal.”
“I won’t relent in defending the mandate that was freely given to me by the good people of Bauchi State. This is not the first obstacle we have had to cross, and by God’s grace, we will emerge victorious again in court. He said
It was earlier reported over the weekend that Chris Uche will lead the Bauchi governor-elect ‘s team with 10 senior lawyers which include 5 SANs and 60 indigenous lawyers from Bauchi to compliment the efforts of the Uche- led legal team in defense of Bala ‘s victory at the tribunal.