Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal presided over by Justice Haruna Tsammani in Abuja on Monday adjourned the petition of the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi till Wednesday, May 10, 2023.
The Tribunal also adjourned the pre-hearing of the petition filed by Action Peoples Party, APP till Wednesday.
The parties filed separate petitions challenging the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC as the winner of the February 25, 2023 presidential election.
During the pre-hearing court session, Vanguard Newspaper reports that the court, barred Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State from standing before it as the representative of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Accordingly, the Plateau state governor had stood up and announced himself as Tinubu’s representative immediately the first petition that was lodged against the outcome of the 2023 presidential election was called up.
“My Lord’s my name is Simon Lalong and I am here to represent Tinubu,” the governor stated.
Justice Haruna Tsammani led five-member panel declined to recognise him as Tinubu’s representative.
“You cannot represent an individual. Tinubu is not a corporation that would need a representative,” the presiding justice rules and said in quote.
“My Lords, in that case, I will represent the All Progressives Congress, APC,” Governor Lalong responded.
In the petition marked CA/ABJ/PEPC/02/2022, filed by the APP, the party is challenging the results of the presidential election on the grounds of irregularities, including alleged mutilation of election results.
APP, which is the only applicant in the petition, is also challenging Tinubu’s victory on the grounds that “the first respondent was not qualified to stand for the said election having knowingly supplied false information”, including the alleged falsification of age and educational qualifications.
APP petition also stated that “the first respondent was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast at the election.”
APP alleged that there were corrupt practices by the staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, and voter inducement, among others, which, according to the APP, affected the outcome of the elections. Adding that the election was characterised by “monumental vote buying”
“The overvoting took place under the watchful eyes of agents of the third respondent”, APP said, according to Punch Newspaper.
APP’s petition was called and the parties announced appearances following the withdrawal and subsequent dismissal of the petition filed by Action Alliance political party.
Peter Abang, the National Legal Adviser of APP, announced his appearance for the Action Peoples Party, while Obed Agu announced his appearance as the party’s legal representative.
Wole Olanipekun announced appearance for Bola Tinubu; Lateef Fagbemi for the APC; and Abubakar Mahmoud for INEC.
Fagbemi, the APC’s counsel, informed the court of his preliminary objection to the APP’s petition and INEC’s lawyer, Mahmoud, informed the court of his client’s pending applications in response to the APP’s petition.
The court however adjourned the APP’s petition until Wednesday, May 10, for continuation of the hearing.
The petition by the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, were thereafter called up.
Parties announced their appearances while Peter Obi, who is the first petitioner in the case, introduced himself.
The LP and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, filed the petitions before the tribunal to challenge the outcome of the February 25, 2023 Nigeria presidential election on the grounds that Tinubu was not qualified to contest the elections “for an offence involving dishonesty, namely narcotics trafficking imposed by the United States District Court.”
LP and Peter Obi, according to Punch Newspaper, also cited non-compliance with the electoral laws as well as the guidelines of INEC.
“Labour Party’s national publicity secretary, Obiora Ifoh, appeared as LP’s representative; May Agbamuche-Mbu appeared on behalf of INEC; Simon Lalong, the Plateau State governor, appeared for the APC.
“Livy Uzoukwu appeared for Obi, while Mahmoud was the counsel for the electoral commission.
“The duo of Olanipekun and Fagbemi maintained appearances for Tinubu and the vice president-elect, Kashim Shettima, and the APC respectively.
Counsel for Peter Obi, Uzoukwu, said they had filed their answers to the questions on April 22, 2023.
“We adopt and rely on them in this pretrial proceedings.”
“Counsel for INEC, Mahmoud, told the court that the electoral commission had filed its responses to the pre-hearing questions.
“Counsel for Tinubu, Olanipekun, also informed the court that his client had filed his answers to the pre-hearing questions.
“He said, “We have filed our answers on the 3rd of May 2023 and my Noble Lords under paragraph 14 we have also listed the application subject to the preliminary objection in the reply.”
“He adopted the answers therein.
“Counsel for the APC, Fagbemi, stated also that he had filed answers on behalf of his client to the pre-hearing questions of the court.
“Following that, the court adjourned Obi’s petition until Wednesday, May 10”, Punch Newspaper reporter cited in the newspaper reportage.