Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Tribunal: APM opens case against Tinubu June 21

APM says it will open and close its case in one day with just one witness to call at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).

• June 19, 2023

The Allied Peoples Movement (APM) has told the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) that it will open and close its case in one day with just one witness to call.

The hearing in the petition filed by the APM to challenge the outcome of the 2023 presidential election has stalled due to the petitioner’s inability to get hold of a Supreme Court judgment delivered on May 26 on a related matter.

The Supreme Court’s judgment affirmed President Bola Tinubu’s eligibility to contest the February 25 presidential election.

When the petitioner was billed to open its case, counsel to Mr Tinubu drew the court’s attention to the fact that the apex court already decided on the main issue the APM raised in its petition.

At the resumed hearing of the petition on Monday in Abuja, counsel to the petitioner, Gideon Idiagbonya, told the court that the petitioner had only one witness to call.

“My lords, we intended to open our case today, but in the cause of having a pre-trial conference with our sole witness, we realised that certain documents we intend to tender are not in the file handed over to us by the previous counsel,” Mr Idiagbonya.

He added, “In view of this, we ask for another date to enable us to open and close our case in one day since we have just one witness.”

The counsel told the court that the petitioner had perused the judgment of the Supreme Court and was of the opinion that his client could still proceed with the petition.

Responding, counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Abubakar Mahmoud, said he had no objection to the application for an adjournment.

Mr Olanipekin told the court that he had also read the judgment, and he insisted that the judgment had settled the issues raised by the petitioner.

Mr Olanipekun, however, did not oppose the application for an adjournment.

Similarly, counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Charles Edosanwan, and GM Isho, counsel to the fifth respondent, Kabiru Masari, did not oppose the application for an adjournment.

The chairman of the court, Justice Haruna Tsammani, adjourned the hearing in the petition until June 21 for the petitioner to open and close its case as counsel had told the court.

The judgment in question was delivered on May 26 by the apex court, and it dismissed the Peoples Democratic Party’s suit, which sought to nullify Mr Tinubu’s election based on allegations of double nomination against his running mate, now Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

The APM had in its petition marked CA/PEPC/04/2023, contended that the withdrawal of Mr Masari, who was initially nominated as the vice-presidential candidate of the APC, invalidated Mr Tinubu’s candidacy in view of section 131(c) and 142 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.


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