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Buhari ‘welcomes’ Supreme Court ruling

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday welcomed the Supreme Court ruling dismissing the appeal filed by his main challenger in the February general elections.

Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party said the declaration of Buhari as the winner of the election was wrong and that he won the election, which he said was a “sham”.

Arguing that he scored more than 41% of the votes the Independent National Election Commission said he got, Abubakar and his party challenged Buhari’s victory at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

But the tribunal dismissed his petition.

“This petition is hereby dismissed in its entirety,” Justice Mohammed Garba, who led the petition tribunal, said on September 11.

Unsatisfied by the tribunal’s verdict, which his party called “provocative, barefaced subversion of justice,” Abubakar went to Nigeria’s highest court.

But Nigeria’s top judge said on Wednesday that Abubakar’s appeal did not have merit.

“We have examined all the briefs and the exhibits for over two weeks and we agree that there is no merit in this appeal,” Chief Justice, Tanko Muhammad said at the judgement. “The appeal is dismissed.”

The judgment, Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu said, is an endorsement of the “mandate they gave to him” to lead Africa’s most populous country.

“The Government – and people of Nigeria – have been aware that the result of February 23, 2019, presidential election has been settled now for some eight months,” Shehu said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

“President Buhari was re-elected by an absolute majority of 55.6 per cent of the national vote, with Nigerians casting nearly 4 million more votes for President Buhari than his nearest challenger – representing a margin close to 15 per cent of the total vote.”

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