The Presidential Election Petition Court sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja has adjourned till Thursday, the pre-hearing session in the petitions filed by the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and his party, challenging the declaration of the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 general election.
When the matter came up on Tuesday, Atiku Abubakar and the PDP through their counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) asked the Court to step down their application seeking live broadcast of the proceedings for hearing in view of its national importance.
Uche had, while adopting the information sheet (Form TF008) and the answers contained there-in, filed on April 27, 2023 on behalf of his clients, informed the court of the motion filed on May 7, seeking live broadcast of proceedings of the court on the matter.
According to Uche, all the respondents have been served with the motion and prayed the court to set it down for hearing.
Counsel to the respondents – Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), representing Bola Tinubu, and Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) for the APC, while adopting their various responses to the petitioners’ pre-hearing information sheet, said they will file their responses to Atiku and PDP application within the time allowed by the rules of the court.
Meanwhile, the APC and the President-elect have asked the court to dismiss in its entirety a petition filed by the APM against the declaration of Tinubu as winner of the presidential election.
APC and Tinubu argued that the petition filed by the party was worthless as it disclosed no reasonable cause of action.
Fagbemi who filed the motion on behalf of APC insisted that the election being challenged by APM was lawfully conducted and a clear winner declared in line with the provisions of the law.
In his own submission, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN) who stood for Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shetima informed the court that he had filed pre-hearing information sheet on May 3, 2023 and informed the court of his pending motion on notice praying for outright dismissal of the petition on various reasons.
Olujimi said he would argue the motion at the appropriate time allotted to it by the court.
Earlier, when the petition was called, Suleiman Abubakar who conducted the day’s proceedings for the APM told the court that the party has filed answers to the issues raised by the respondents, which he adopted.
Counsel to INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), informed the Court of the preliminary information sheet he filed which he adopted as the Commission’s response to the petitioner’s application.
He said, INEC has three applications, which he seeks the court to allow at the appropriate time.
Lateef Fagbemi on his part, adopted the preliminary answers of the APC filed on May 2 to APM’s pre-hearing process and Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN) who represented Tinubu and the Vice President elect, Kashim Shettima also adopted the answers to the pre-hearing information sheet of his clients filed on May 3.
Counsel to Kabiru Masari, who is the 5th respondent in the petition, Chief Gani Aliyu also adopted the briefs he filed at the session.
The APM is contending that Tinubu was not qualified to contest the election on the grounds of the alleged double nomination of his vice-presidential candidate.
It is also questioning Tinubu’s candidacy on the grounds of the substitution of the initial “placeholder”, Kabir Masari, with Shettima.
Atiku Abubakar and his party are praying the Court to nullify Tinubu’s election on the ground that the February 25 presidential election was conducted in substantial non compliance with the provisions of the constitution, the Electoral Act and INEC’s guidelines for the conduct of the said election.
The court, at the conclusion of its pre-hearing sitting on Tuesday said, the petition by APM will be taken by 9am, while that jointly filed by Atiku and his party will be taken at 2pm on Thursday
The presiding Justice, Justice Haruna Tsammani before adjourning, ordered counsel to meet and harmonise their positions in respect of documents to be tendered, those to be objected to and those to allow in without objection.
He said the application by Atiku and his party will be taken along with other applications filed in the matter.
READ ALSO FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE