The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Wednesday ordered substituted service of the petition challenging the outcome of the February 23 presidential election on President Muhammadu Buhari.
The tribunal also ordered that copies of all the legal processes be served on Buhari through any senior officer at the national headquarters of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The order by the three-man panel of Justices of the Court led by Justice Abdul Aboki followed an ex-parte application filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The petitioners are in the petition marked CA/PEPC/002/2019 which cited President Buhari and the APC as respondents praying the Tribunal to invalidate the declaration of Buhari as winner of the presidential contest.
The tribunal had earlier ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to grant both the petitioners and the 2nd and 3rd Respondents (Buhari and the APC) access to all the electoral materials that were deployed for the February 23 presidential poll, apart from the Smart Card Reader Machines.
While Atiku and PDP maintained that they would need copies of the materials to sustain their allegation that the election was rigged, Buhari and the APC also argued that they would need the materials to prove that they legitimately won the election.
Recall that INEC had on February 27, declared that Buhari won the presidential contest with 15,191,847 votes to defeat Atiku, his closest rival who it said polled a total of 11,262,978 votes.
However in their joint petition, Atiku and his party insisted that the data that they secured from INEC’s server revealed that they defeated President Buhari with over 1.6million votes.
They alleged that INEC had at various stages of the presidential election, unlawfully allocated votes to Buhari, saying they would adduce oral and documentary evidence to show that results of the election as announced by INEC did not represent the lawful valid votes cast.