Desmond Mgboh, Kano
Second Republic politician, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, has said that he was not surprised by the verdict of the presidential election petition tribunal which affirmed President Muhammad Buhari as the winner of the presidential elections conducted by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) earlier in the year.
Alhaji Tanko, in his reaction to the verdict, during a telephone conversation with our correspondent in Kano on Wednesday night declared: “I’m not surprised. It (verdict) did not come to me as a surprise in any way.”
Alhaji Tanko explained that his mindset about election petition tribunals at the presidential level is that they actually do not and would not change the outcomes of presidential elections in Nigeria.
He, however, declared that “this is not to say that I have questions about the integrity of the justices of the tribunal that handed the presidential election petition.”
On the contrary, he appreciated the way and manner in which they carefully unbundled and addressed, one by one, a number of issues that bordered on technicalities, instead of lumping them together with the substantive petition of the petitioners.
He also observed that the verdict had finally put to rest the issue of certificate as a the sole basis of qualification for elections in Nigeria, adding that according to the tribunal, “once you can read and write and understand, you are presumed to have attained the equivalent of a secondary school certificate and can, therefore, stand for elections at any level.”
Asked if he thinks the Atiku Abubakar’s camp would appeal the judgement, he replied: “I have not met with them; I don’t know, but let us wait and see.”