Posted by Sunday Ejike, Abuja | 27 June 2019 | 937 times
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), on Wednesday, adjourned to July 1, 2019, the pre-hearing session in the petition filed by the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his party, challenging the re-election of President Muhammad Buhari in the February 23, 2019 presidential election.
Chairman of the five-member panel, Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba fixed the date, following request by Atiku’s lawyer, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) for time to enable the petitioners reply on point of law to the All Progressive Congress (APC) objection to their application, wherein they are asking the Tribunal to stop its ruling in the APC motion seeking to void their petition.
Atiku and the PDP had filed a fresh motion asking the Tribunal to halt the delivery of its ruling in a motion on notice filed by the APC to enable them to file their response.
The APC had in the motion on notice filed by its lead counsel, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) on May 15, prayed the Tribunal to void and strike out Atiku’s petition on various grounds of alleged irregularities and non-compliance with the legal practitioners Act.
When the motion was argued by Fagbemi, Atiku and PDP did not file counter affidavit, prompting the Tribunal to reserve ruling in the APC’s motion.
However, at Wednesday’s proceedings, lead counsel to the petitioners, Chief Chris Uche, informed the Tribunal that the petitioners have just received the response of the APC to their request asking the Tribunal to stop delivery of ruling in the motion and would need time to respond on point of law.
The Tribunal Chairman, Justice Garba after listening to the short argument by parties in the matter, adjourned further the hearing till July 1, 2019
The APC had on June 11, through its lead counsel, prayed the Tribunal to strike out Atiku’s petition and in the alternative strike out several paragraphs that were not supported by facts and laws.
Among others, Fagbemi prayed the Tribunal to remove ten states in the list of states where Atiku alleged that electoral malpractices took place in the February 23 presidential election.
The grouse of APC was that the petitioners failed to disclose the specific polling units where the alleged infraction took place, thereby making their claims imprecise, nebulous and vague.
Fagbemi also applied for an order of the Tribunal to strike out paragraphs where allegations of the act of thuggery, arrest, intimidation and conversion were made against Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Police and several other individuals who were not joined as defendants in their petition.
APC also applied that the claim by Atiku and his party that President Buhari was not educationally qualified to participate in the presidential election be expunged from their petition because it is a pre-election matter which the Tribunal has no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon.
Besides, APC also asked the Tribunal to strike out the petition against Buhari’s election for failure to comply with mandatory provisions of paragraph 4 and 7 of the first schedule to the Electoral Act 2010 and section 134 of the 1999 Constitution.
The APC similarly faulted the petition for being incompetent and in gross violation of section 2 and 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act and therefore urged that the petition be struck out together with the list of documents and list of witnesses to be relied upon by the petitioners. (Nigerian Tribune)
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