Justice Tanko Muhammadu, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, is leading the seven-man panel scheduled to entertain the appeals instituted by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Atiku and PDP are by the appeals, challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the February 23, 2019 poll.
Justice Muhammad and other six members of the panel filed into the courtroom at about 9.09 a.m. on Wednesday set for the hearing.
Other members of the panel are Justices Bode Rhodes-Vivour, Kayode Ariwoola, John Okoro, Amiru Sanusi, Ejembi Eko and Uwani Abba-Ajji.
Atiku and PDP on September 24 filed an appeal against the ruling of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, PEPT, at the Supreme Court.
PEPT had on September 11, dismissed the petition filed by Atiku and the PDP in its entirety, adding that the petitioners could not prove that President Buhari was not elected by popular votes.
In his first official statement since the judgement of the election petition tribunal dismissing his case, the former vice-president said he will still pursue the judicial route despite the tribunal’s decision.
“Nothing good comes easy, and hard as the task to rid Nigeria from the forces of fascism, and be an instrument for the full restoration of the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria is, your support makes the struggle worthwhile,” he said.
‘I SOLD FIREWOOD’
Atiku said he owes a lot to Nigeria, restating his commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of citizens.
He said: “I owe so much to this great land of Nigeria that took me from the streets of Jada, where I sold firewood, to the heights I have attained, by God’s benevolence, in the civil service, in corporate Nigeria, and in public service.”
“If I do not play my part in making it possible for other orphaned children, indigent youths and the less privileged, to replicate and even surpass my path to significance, I would have failed my Maker. And only by ensuring that democracy is not just done, but seen to be done, can Nigeria and Nigerians have a sense that this our dear land is indeed a land where Unity, Faith, Peace and Progress reside.”
He said some individuals who do not want the good of the country will use different kinds of negative plots to deceive citizens but “we will ensure that Nigeria makes a course correction away from tyranny and towards democracy”.
“We must stand together to pursue this just cause all the way so that our judiciary are not afraid to do their jobs and have to be wary of blackmail, intimidation, and victimisation,” he added.
“I note the immense outpouring of goodwill from ordinary Nigerians in every nook and cranny of Nigeria and from all regions, religions and relationships. Once again I thank you all for your support.
“I urge all Nigerians to continue their support for this recourse to constitutional order via the courts. Even if there is little or nothing you can do to ensure that justice is done in Nigeria, just believe that it will happen. Let us never underestimate the effect of our belief in Nigeria.”