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12- 9 – 2019

This is Zikoko’s Game of Votes Weekly Dispatch. We share the most important things that happen in Nigeria every week. 5pm Thursdays. Stay woke. 


On September 11th, the presidential election tribunal delivered its judgment on the petition filed by PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging President Buhari’s victory in February’s elections.

This judgment, delivered by Chairman Garba Mohammed, took about 900 hours to be given. During which time I grew 5 grey hairs, experienced 2 existential crises and listened to the new, old Blackface song on a continuous loop (ˢᵒᵐᵉᵇᵒᵈʸ ˢᵃᵛᵉ ᵐᵉ).

Eventually, Atiku’s petition was dismissed, again dashing the former VP’s chances of ever crossing ‘did the president ting’ off his bucket list. We’re stuck with Bubu for the foreseeable future guys, yay!

To get the gist of the petition judgment, you could watch the full 900-hour video here, or, keep reading for a quick breakdown of the most important rulings.

Chairman Mohammed’s preliminary rulings.

INEC, APC and President Buhari were the respondents while Atiku and the PDP were the petitioners. The judgement was given by 5 justices and delivered by the Chairman of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal — Garba Mohammed.

Rulings were given on 8 preliminary applications by both sides and judgment on 5 issues raised by the PDP. Some of the preliminary matters and the decisions made were:

  1. INEC’S motion filed on May 5th that the PDP’s suit be struck out for failing to include Vice-President Osibanjo as a party to the election petition. 
    Garba Mohammed: Yeah, no. The VP is an ‘appendage’ to the President and doesn’t require a separate shout out. He rises and falls with the Bubs. Way to make a guy feel special, Nigerian justice system.
  2. INEC’S appeal that the PDP petition be struck out because their lead counsel wasn’t a real lawyer. 
    Garba Mohammed: Stop tripping, Livinus Uzoukwu has been practicing law since 1982.
  3. The APC’s claims that Buhari’s academic qualifications are a pre-election matter and irrelevant to the 2019 election petition. 
    Garba Mohammed: Hell yeah it’s relevant to the petition. You don’t want to know if your president can solve quadratic equations?
  4. On the PDP’s claims that the VP used government funds masked as Trader Moni to influence voters. 
    Garba Mohammed: You’re going to have to talk to the EFCC about this one. Or the ICPC, IDK. This one pass me.
  5. On the APC’s application challenging Atiku’s Nigerian citizenship and qualification to contest the presidency.
    Garba Mohammed: This man has lived in Nigeria for over ten years. He was Vice President. What else do hittas want?

Read more on the rulings here.

On the issue of President Buhari’s qualification to contest the elections, however⁠ — it was decided that: The President was eminently qualified to contest the elections.

The PDP alleged that the president was not educated to secondary school certificate level and has no school leaving certificate to speak of. They backed their claims using a statement, presumably this, made by the Secretary, Military Board, Brig. Gen. Olajide Olaleye, in which he stated the army had no WAEC original certificate, CTC or statement of the result of the president in its possession. They also claimed he submitted an affidavit containing false personal information to INEC before the elections.

Discounting their claims, Justice Mohammed faulted the absence of Brig.Gen. Olagide as a witness to their assertions and also interpreted the statement to infer that the army had a CTC of the certificate and not the original, supposedly proving that the president did have a secondary school qualification.

Using the president’s qualification from the army, the tribunal deemed Buhari not just qualified to run for office, but ‘eminently qualified’ to do so. Go off Bubs!

The PDP also cited irregularities in the spelling of the president’s name — ‘Mohammed/Muhammadu’ as evidence that his qualifications were suspect. For failing to prove that both names didn’t belong to the same person, their claim was again thrown out.

On the third issue raised, disputing the number of votes won by either side during the elections, the tribunal held that the petitioners (PDP), had been unable to prove the existence of INEC servers, on which they based their victorious claims.

Combining the fourth and fifth matters, the petitioner’s claim that the election was marred by irregularities was faulted by the tribunal, as it was claimed that the petitioners failed to call relevant witnesses like polling agents present on the ground. Instead, they called on collation officers to prove irregularities. Read more here.

Finding faults in the key issues to be determined, victory in the 2019 presidential elections was given in favour of President Buhari.

The aftermath.

Even though most people weren’t surprised by the president’s victory at the election tribunal; it still came as a bit of a shock to the guy who just dumped a ton of money to prove he was the rightful winner. Which is why he will be challenging the decision.

His lawyer, Mr. Ozekhome SAN stated: “That we’re appealing to the Supreme Court is as certain as death.” Gee, I wonder if they’re taking this appeal seriously?




Somebody, please tell the Buhari administration to slow down on this ‘living within your means’ agenda because things are getting really ridiculous. First, there’s the plan to impose a 5% charge on every internet transaction from January 2020, and now a proposed increase of VAT from 5% to 7.2% come 2020. I mean, just look at this explanation given by the FIRS Chairman, Babatunde Fowler.

The increase in VAT payments was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on September 11th.

Why are they doing this to us?

Going by what the finance minister, Zainab Ahmed explained and not what Nigerians think in their church mind, the increase is to fund the payment of the minimum wage signed into law and yet to be fully implemented in all states of the federation. She explained that the sharing formula is 85%-15 %, with 15% going to the federal government and 85% to the state and local governments.

Even though the VAT increase is not immediate — as it requires extensive consultations with the National Assembly, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, etc, as well as an amendment of the VAT Act — the increased rate has already been factored into the government’s 2020 revenue projections, contained in the ₦10.02 trillion budget approved by the FEC.

Welp, we’re in for it now.


(Governor Yahaya Bello and his newly selected running mate – Edward Onoja doing … different somethings)
Can someone please inform these fine, young gentlemen to synchronise their gang signs?


Even though the presidency finally held the FEC meeting where the VAT increase and proposed budget were agreed on, it had been postponed … twice.

While the August 28th meeting was postponed because the president was attending the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Japan, Garba Shehu, the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity explained that the second meeting which was to hold on September 4th was postponed to allow ministers familiarise themselves with and add to memos submitted by their predecessors, improving their contributions to the meeting. The postponement was also to assist in their familiarisation with the workspace — whatever that means.

Well, guess third time’s the charm because the meeting finally held on September 11th. Let’s pretend we don’t recall a certain President Buhari assured ministers in their swearing-in ceremonies that FEC meetings would be held weekly.


1.Imo State released its budget for the first time in five years. Bruh.

2.Uh-oh, a tribunal has nullified the election of Orji Uzor Kalu as a senator.

3.Make up your mind Buhari. Is Boko Haram defeated or is it downgraded?

4.This is a little old, but would I deny you the opportunity to see this Zamafara politician who defected from APC to PDP and then back again cry to be let back in? The answer is no. Don’t you just love what the APC does with its verified pages?


Marking September 11, this Esquire piece is the most touching attempt at covering the horrors of the attack.

I just wanted you all to see what counts as humility in Nigeria these days. The bar guys? It’s disintegrated at this point.

I loved this 99% Invisible podcast on the evolution of ringtones. You will too.



You made it to the end! I’m so proud of you. Tell someone how proud of you I am, show them this newsletter while you’re at it. Okay?

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Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.