The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) sitting in Abuja has adjourned till Friday, hearing in the petition brought before it by the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) challenging that declaration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
When the petition was called on Tuesday, Counsel to Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, who are 3rd and 4th respondents in the petition, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) referred the court to the judgement of the Supreme Court delivered on Friday, May 26, 2023 in a suit seeking the disqualification of Tinubu and Shetimma to participate in the February 25 Presidential election filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the ground of double nomination of Shettima.
According to Olanipekun, “As officers of the court, it behoves on us to assist the court in all circumstances and to also bring to the attention of your Lordships decisions of your Lordships from other judicial divisions which relates to any matter before your Lordships, even if those decisions do not necessarily align with the interest of our clients.
“It becomes more imperative since we are aware of the end decision of the Supreme Court which touches on matters within the proceedings before your Lordships”, Olanipekun said and told the court that the petition by the APM borders on double nomination of his client, Shettima, who is the 4th respondent in the petition.
Olanipekun informed the court that the apex court gave a decision on the same subject matter on May 26 in yet to be reported judgement in SC/CV/ 501/2023 between the PDP and INEC and three others.
He said the apex court considered all the issues and resolved them and promised to confer with the Counsel to the Petitioner whether there is still the need to continue with the petition, considering the Friday decision of the Supreme Court.
In his submissions, Suleiman Abubakar representing APM, prayed the court to adjourn the hearing of the petition till Friday, June 2 to enable the petitioner apply to the Supreme Court for the copy of the said judgement referred to by Olanipekun.
He said the short adjournment will enable the petitioner to examine the judgement to know the effect it has on the petition by the APM.
With no objection to the request for adjournment by all the respondents, the court consequently adjourned further hearing in the petition till Friday, June 2, 2023.
In another development, the PEPC on Tuesday accepted in evidence print out of Biometric Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) from 36 states of the Federation and the FCT in the petition filed by the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party challenging the declaration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
Following a no objection to the tendering of the documents by the respondents, the court admitted the BVAS report from across the states and FCT and marked them as exhibits PG 1-36, while the PVCs were admitted and marked as exhibits PH, PH1 to PH36.
At the resumed hearing of the petition earlier, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), who conducted the proceedings on behalf of the lead counsel to Atiku and PDP, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) informed the court that the petitioners have filed and served a schedule of documents containing details of INEC certified documents they intend to tender.
Among the documents tendered from the Bar by the petitioners are form EC8E (final results declared), form EC8A (summary of results), form EC8D series for 36 states of the Federation and the FCT along with receipts of payments for certification made to INEC.
Justice Haruna Tsammani, leading the five member panel of Justices of the court adjourned further hearing Atiku, PDP’s petition till today (Wednesday) by 2:pm.
Counsel to the respondents raised objections to the admissibility of some of the documents but reserved arguments to the address stage.
Atiku and his party are challenging Tinubu’s election on the ground of gross violation of the Constitution, the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC’s guidelines for the conduct of the February 25 presidential election.
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