By Edith Nwapi/Wandoo Sumbo
Abuja, May 23, 2023
The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) on Tuesday consolidated the three surviving petitions before it.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that out of the five petitions before the panel only three petitions are left. They are Abubakar Atiku and PDP, Peter Obi and Labour Party (LP) and Allied Peoples Movement (APM) petitions.
In a petition marked CA/PEPC/05/2023, Abubakar Atiku and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are challenging the outcome of the Feb.25 presidential election.
Respondents are Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Sen. Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Allied Peoples Movement (APM) in a petition marked CA/PEPC/04/2023 is challenging the outcome of the Feb 25 presidential election.
The respondents are Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Action Progressives Congress (APC), Tinubu, Sen. Kashim Shettima and Kabir Masari.
Similarly, Obi and the LP are petitioners in the petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023.
Respondents are Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Sen. Bola Tinubu and Sen. Kashim Shettima and All Progressives Congress (APC).
The five-member panel, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, consolidated the petitions after directing parties on Saturday to look at the provisions in paragraph 50 of the first Schedule of the Electoral Act regarding the issue of consolidation.
Paragraph 50 of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act states: “Where two or more petitions are presented in relation to the same election or return, all the petitions shall be consolidated, considered and be dealt with as one petition unless the Tribunal or Court shall otherwise direct in order to do justice or an objection against one or more of the petitions has been upheld by the Tribunal or Court.’’
The panel chairman who read the ruling on the consolidation for Obi’s petition gave him 21 days stating from May 30 to present 50 witnesses and prove his case.
He gave five days each for the respondents and directed that they should present his final written address by Aug.5.
He added that the time allotted to take witnesses shall be directed and monitored by the court.
Tsammani also adjourned until May 30 for full hearing.
Similarly, APM’s petition was read by Justice Monsurat Bolaji-Yusuf, member of the panel.
The judge held that the petition was consolidated and hearing will begin on May 30 and also ordered that the petitioners should file written addresses on July 3.
On the petition by Abubakar and the PDP, ruling, Justice Stephen Ada, member of the panel held that hearing will begin on May 30.
Ada gave Abubakar and the PDP 21 days to call their 100 witnesses to prove their case and adopt their addresses on Aug.8.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it will abide with the decision of the court on the issue of consolidation.
Other respondents, the APC, Tinubu, Kashim Shettima and Masari opposed the consolidation.
The respondents held that in the interest of justice, the grounds raised by parties are not the same and urged the court not to consolidate the petitions.
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the court started pre-hearing on May 8 with five petitions challenging INEC declaring of Tinubu winner of the Feb. 25 Presidential Election.
Two petitions of the Action Alliance (AA) and All Peoples Party were dismissed.