Tribunal reserves ruling on application seeking withdrawal of HDP’s petition against Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Tuesday reserved ruling on an application seeking the withdrawal of petition challenging the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, filed by Hope Democratic Party (HDP).

Justice Mohammed Garba, chairman of the five-man panel, reserved the application after it was argued by counsel to parties.

An acclaimed national chairman of Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Tapre Poland, had approached the tribunal with the application.

The tribunal also reserved its ruling on another application filed by Mr Poland praying for the substitution of the counsel representing the party.

Anthony Agbolahan, counsel for Mr Poland, had adopted and argued the written addresses of the applicant.

The applicant prayed the tribunal to grant the two applications, adding that HDP was no longer interested in contesting the victory of the president in the February 23 general election.

Mr Poland, a member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, assumed the position after the substantive national chairman, Ambrose Owuru was suspended by the party.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Owuru, who contested the presidential election on the platform of HDP, is challenging Mr Buhari’s victory in the election.

Chukwunoyerem Njoku, Counsel for both HDP and Mr Owuru, prayed the tribunal to discountenance the two applications, describing the applicant as an “interloper’’.

Mr Njoku also argued that the applicant had no locus to file for the withdrawal of HDP, that he had no official power to do so.

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He said Mr Poland was neither the national chairman of the party nor did he contest the February 23 presidential election on the platform of HDP.

Mr Njoku further explained that only the National Working Committee (NEC) chaired by Mr Owuru, who remained that national chairman of HDP, could decide whether or not to press on with the case.

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He, therefore, prayed the tribunal to disregard the application by dismissing same.

Mr Garba, the judge, had earlier granted the petitioners leave to effect typographical corrections on their main petition but however declined to additional prayers to file additional list of witnesses.

The chairman of the panel held that the 21 days allowed by law for the filing of a petition that should contain all list of witnesses and other documentary evidence had since lapsed.

Meanwhile, the tribunal adjourned until June 27 to entertain an application filed by INEC seeking the setting aside of the alleged “referendum’’ the petitioners were relying on to have won the presidential election.

Mr Owuru is claiming to have won the election through a nationwide “referendum’’.

(NAN)

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