Security has been beefed up as the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal Abuja on Monday commenced pre-hearing of the petitions challenging the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress polling 8,794,726 votes to win the election. While Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party came second with 6,984,520 votes, and Peter Obi was third with 6,101,533 votes.
Atiku and Obi approached the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to annul Tinubu’s victory.
From the Cause list, the unveiling of the tribunal, the first case to be adjudicated, is the Action Alliance (AA) and its Presidential Candidate in the election, Solomon David Okanigbuan notifying the tribunal of their intentions to withdraw their petition against the declaration of Tinubu as Nigeria’s President-elect after the unveiling of the tribunal.
Besides Tinubu, others listed as respondents in AA’s petition are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), All Progressives Congress APC and Hamza Al Mustapha.
Other petitions slated for the pre-hearing session are those of the Action People’s Party (APP) which has Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as three respondents.
The next petition is that of Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP) marked CA/PEPC/03/2023 with INEC, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Senator Kashim Shetima and APC as four respondents.
The Allied People’s Movement (APM) would proceed next, with INEC, APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Kashim Shetima and one Kabir Masari as defendants.
Atiku Abubakar and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) marked CA/ PEPC/05/2023, would be treated last. It has INEC, Tinubu Bola Ahmed and the APC as three respondents.
The court pre-hearing resumed at about 9:15 am with an opening remark by the Presiding Justice Haruna Tsammani, who leads a five-man panel of Justices.
Other members of the panel include Justice Stephen Adah, Justice Misitura Bolaji-Yusuf, Justice Boloukuoromo Moses Ugo and Justice Abbah Mohammed
Justice Tsammani maintained the panel will do justice to the case and advised the lawyers against making sensational comments.
He also asked for their cooperation since the case is time bound and they should be wary of bringing unnecessary applications that will waste the time of the court.
In their separate responses, counsels to the President-Elect, Wole Olanikpekun, and of Atiku Abubakar, Chris Uche as well as Peter Obi’s lawyer, Livy Uzoukwu, assured the court of their full cooperation and support
He concluded that everyone will be satisfied with the verdict at the end of the case.