By Wandoo Sombo and Edith Nwapi
Abuja, May 8, 2023
The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has adjourned pre-hearing in the petitions filed by the Action Peoples Party, (APP) and Labour Party (LP) until Wednesday.
The five-member panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani had its inaugural sitting on Monday.
The court would also hear the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on Tuesday.
When the petition of the Labour Party was called, Mr. Levi Uzoukwu, SAN, announced appearance for the party and for Mr. Peter Obi.
Uzoukwu told the panel that he had filed his clients’ answers to the pre-hearing questions and that he adopted and relied on same for the proceedings.
Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, who announced appearance for the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) also told the court that he had filed his responses to the pre-hearing questions on behalf of his client.
Mahmoud also told the court that he would adopt same as INEC’s answers to all the questions.
Representing the President-elect, Sen. Bola Tinubu and the Vice-President-elect, Kashim Shettima, Mr. Wole Olanipekun told the court that he had filed all the responses to the pre-hearing questions on behalf of his clients and adopted same.
In the same vein, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, representing the All Progressives Congress, (APC), told the court that he had filed answers in response to the pre-hearing questions on behalf of his client and was ready to argue same when a date was fixed.
Justice Tsammani advised parties to meet and resolve documents that they would be objecting to and those they would not object and to also harmonise their processes.
He then adjourned the matter until Wednesday at 2: 00PM.
Earlier, Justice Tsammani said that the panel had five petitions before it but that only three petitions would be heard on Monday while the other two would be taken on Tuesday.
The petitions heard were those filed by Action Alliance (AA) marked: CA/PEPC/01/2023, Action Peoples Party (APP) marked: CA/PEPC/02/2023 and Peter Obi & Labour Party (LP) marked: CA/PEPC/03/2023.
However, AA withdrew its petition, and it was subsequently dismissed.
Justice Tsammani also assured the lawyers and litigants that the panel would do justice to all petitions and that all would be satisfied with the verdict at the end of the case.
He cautioned against making sensational comments and also advised the lawyers to focus on the substance of their petitions and avoid technicalities.
Other members of the panel are Justice Stephen Adah of Asaba division of the court, Justice Misitura Bolaji-Yusuf also of Asaba, Justice Boloukuoromo Ugo of Kano division and Justice Abbah Mohammed of Ibadan division.
In their separate responses, lawyers for the parties reassured the court of their readiness and willingness to make the panel’s task easy.
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports the Tribunal will hear petitions against the result declared by INEC declaring Tinubu winner of the Feb. 25 Presidential Election.
NAN also reports that Obi, Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, Mr. Julius Abure and other party chieftains were present in court.