Tribunal Adjourns Atiku’s Petition Against Tinubu’s Victory to 18th May

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The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) sitting in Abuja has adjourned further proceedings on the joint petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, challenging the outcome of the 2023 presidential election. reports that the five-member panel, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, adjourned the petition until May 18 for the continuation of the pre-hearing session.

The counsel of the petitioners, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, had informed the court that the parties had met and agreed on modalities for a seamless progression of the pre-hearing session.

The respondents’ counsels, including Mr. A. B. Mahmood, SAN, of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, of the President-elect, and Chief Charles Edosomwon, SAN, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), confirmed the report by counsel for the petitioners.

The court also heard an application for live coverage of the proceedings, and the respondents said they would file their responses before Monday. Justice Tsammani therefore commended the parties for their cooperation and agreement, saying it would assist in the quick conclusion of the pre-hearing session.

The joint petition marked: CA/PEPC/05/2023, filed by Atiku and the PDP, sought to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the President-elect, Bola Tinubu of the APC, by INEC.

The petitioners maintained that the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election was invalid due to non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, and that Tinubu’s election was invalid due to corrupt practices.

Atiku is praying the court to declare him the winner of the presidential election, having secured the second-highest number of lawful votes cast at the election. However, in a reply filed by his team of lawyers, Tinubu queried the legal competence of petitions seeking to invalidate his election victory.

In a preliminary objection, Tinubu described Atiku as a consistent serial loser who had crisscrossed different political parties in search of power since 1993. Tinubu said he would lead evidence before the court to show how Atiku’s emergence as a candidate in the presidential election led to the “balkanisation” of the opposition PDP.

Tinubu also argued that he was validly returned as the winner of the presidential election by INEC and that it was not a mandatory requirement of the law that he must win the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, before he would be declared as the President-elect.

Recall that INEC had announced Tinubu as the winner of the presidential poll on March 1, ahead of 17 other candidates who contested the election.

Tinubu polled a total of 8,794,726 votes, Atiku polled 6,984,520 votes, and Obi came third with a total of 6,101,533 votes.

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