• Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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Tribunal rules on Atiku’s live broadcast motion today

Tribunal rules on Atiku’s live broadcast motion today

The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal sitting at the Court of Appeal Abuja will on Thursday (today) make a pronouncement on the motion by Atiku Abubakar, the president candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for live broadcast of the proceedings of the tribunal.

The tribunal will also hear the petition of PDP and Atiku challenging the February 25 presidential election.

Justice Haruna Tsammani, the presiding judge, had on Tuesday adjourned the hearing to enable the parties to identify the major issues for the panel to consider in a timely manner, and avoid duplications.

The tribunal will also consider the new motion filed by President-elect Bola Tinubu’s counsel, Wole Olanipekun, which is seeking dismissal of the petitions by Allied Peoples Movement and Atiku for lack of merit.

During Wednesday’s hearing, there were protesters at the court.

A pro-democracy group under the umbrella of ‘The Natives’, in reaction to the ongoing presidential election tribunal, is protesting against activities of opposition parties who are contesting the results of the 2023 presidential election.

The group was seen carrying banners and placards in a solidarity walk on Wednesday in Abuja as they headed to the Appeal Court.

The group was led by Smart Edwards, who had earlier warned politicians to stop inciting Nigerians against the democratic process.

“Our message is very clear. This is one indivisible country and it benefits nobody that the country goes into flames. We have said that elections have been won and lost. On this presidential election, Bola Ahmed Tinubu won clearly,” he said.

Meanwhile, the tribunal moved hearing of the petition filed by the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, challenging the 2023 presidential election, to May 17, 2023.

Justice Tsamani pronounced the adjournment following a request by parties during Wednesday’s pre-hearing of Obi and Labour Party’s petition.

During the session, Levi Uzoukwu, head of Obi’s counsel, moved the motion for adjournment, saying it would enable parties to file all process and decide on matters to be determined in other to ensure a seamless process. He said all parties met and agreed to the decision.

“Due to the number of outstanding process yet to be filed, we have agreed that it would be better if this matter is adjourned to Wednesday to enable parties file all processes. So that when we are coming back, we would ensure that the process arrive for hearing. Before then, we will meet and take a decision on documents that are not in contention and documents that are controversial. We would have agreed on the documents to be tendered without being objected to,” Uzoukwu said.

“Counsel to the respondents and petitioners agreed that rather than continuously adjourning the matter, it is best to file all the motions and applications served parties and come back on Wednesday 17th May, and have it adopted or argued to save time,” he said during an interactive session with journalists. He added that the party has filed a motion for live broadcast of the court’s proceedings.

Justice Tsammani moved the date of the hearing and asked all parties to draw up issues to be determined to the next date of the adjournment.

“We recommend that issues to be determined be filed following what was agreed on today. On that note, the petition is further adjourned to the 17th of May 2023,” he said.

He noted that most of the lawyers have matters in other places but elections matters have been prioritised and hoped that the hearing will be treated expediently.

The respondents in Obi and LP’s petition with the number CA/PEPC/03/2023 are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Kashim Shettima.

Obi was present at the hearing, while Obiorah Ifoh, Labour Party’s national publicity secretary represented the party.

APP withdraws motion against Tinubu, INEC

During the morning pre-hearing session, the tribunal dismissed the petition by the Action People’s Party (APP) which is also challenging the presidential elections.

The presiding judge dismissed the petition numbered CA/PEPC/02/2023 following the motion by the party seeking withdrawal.

Obed Agu, counsel to APP, told the tribunal that the party filed a motion to dismiss the petition on 9th of May. He informed the court of its intention to withdraw the petition brought under paragraph 29 of schedule of election petition.

Read also: Osun Supreme Court ruling: BVAS has come to stay – Atiku

Agu had during Monday’s pre-hearing said the respondents should concede to the claims of the petitioner considering the “heavy weight of claims against them”, but filed for a motion for withdrawal.

Counsels for the respondents did not object to the petition, and did not ask for any cost. They commended the APP for the move, urging others to follow suit. The respondents are the Tinubu, APC, and INEC.

Wole Olanipekun, counsel to Tinubu, said: “We are not opposing the application. We want to commend them, and hope that more will still come.”

Also responding, Lateef Fagbemi, counsel to APC, said: “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. We are not opposing”.

Following the withdrawal of the petition and no objection, Justice Tsammani said: “Having carefully considered the application, we are satisfied that there is no collision on the part of the respondents; the petition is hereby dismissed.”