Tribunal: Hearing To Begin May 30 As Court Merges PDP, LP, APM Petitions
The Presidential Election Petition Court has consolidated all the petitions filed by the three petitioners, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), and the Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM), and their presidential candidates.
The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Haruna Tsamani, made this known on Tuesday while presenting the court pre-hearing report.
All three parties are challenging the outcome of the February 25 presidential election, in which the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Tinubu, was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Tinubu polled 8,794,726 votes, while PDP’s Atiku Abubakar scored Abubakar 6,984,520 votes and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Peter Obi, finished with a tally of 6,101,533.
The Tribunal, in Tuesday’s proceeding at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, said the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, had three weeks to prove their case.
To ensure a speedy hearing of the Labour Party’s petition, there will be no oral examination of witnesses as what will be required is the adoption of witness statements.
For a star (or expert) witness, 30 minutes shall be used for evidence in chief while 20 minutes will be for cross-examination and 5 minutes for re-examination.
Peter Obi’s hearing is to commence on May 30 and end June 23.
Presenting the hearing report, Justice Misitura Bolaji-Yusuf said the APM is being given one day to prove its case as it had only one witness to call.
In line with Section 41(3) of the 1st Schedule of the Electoral Act, the court added that there shall be no oral examination of witnesses as witnesses will only be allowed to adopt their written statements.
APM’s hearing will begin on May 30 to end July 3 and is expected to close its evidence on June 6.
For the PDP, Atiku has three weeks to prove his case,with hearing commencing on May 30 and ending on June 20.
The First Respondent (INEC) was given two days, while the 2nd and 3rd respondents (Tinubu and APC) have five days.
Hearing for the consolidated suit is to commence on May 30 across the board while Labour Party and the PDP would close theirs on June 23.
The Tribunal is also expected to sit all week, including Saturdays.
Back in March, LP and Obi had filed a petition at the Tribunal, challenging Tinubu’s declaration as the winner of the presidential election.
The petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023 has INEC, Tinubu, his running mate Senator Kashim Shettima, and the APC as the 1st to 4th respondents.
The petitioners are praying for the tribunal to declare Tinubu as not duly elected with a majority of the lawful votes cast. They want an order mandating INEC to retrieve the certificate of return issued to the APC candidate and issue a fresh one to Obi.
APM and the Action Alliance (AA) lodged similar petitions.
The petition by AA and its presidential candidate, Solomon Okanigbuan, was marked CA/PEPC/01/2023, that of the APM was marked CA/PEPC/04/2023.
However, the AA withdrew its case earlier this month.
Within hours, the PDP and Atiku filed their petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023, which also has INEC, Tinubu, Shettima, and the APC as the 1st to 4th respondents.