INEC, Buhari, APC ask tribunal to dismiss PDM’s petition

President Muhammadu Buhari at a Federal Executive Council meeting
President Muhammadu Buhari at a Federal Executive Council meeting

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Monday, reserved rulings in a petition seeking to nullify President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election.

The petition was filed by Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) and its candidate, Aminchi Habu.

Its seven motions were reserved for ruling on a day the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mr Buhari and the All Progressives Congress(APC) challenged the competence of the petition.

In separate motions, INEC, Mr Buhari and APC, who were all cited as first to third respondents in the petition, questioned the jurisdiction of the tribunal to entertain the petition they said was grossly incompetent.

INEC on Its part filed three motions in opposition to the petition marked CA/PEPC/004/2019, while Mr Buhari and APC filed two motions each, which were all moved and reserved for ruling.

The five-member panel led by Mohammed Garba held that the rulings would be delivered alongside the main judgement as prescribed in section 285(8) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

Specifically, INEC, through its lead counsel, Usman Yunus, urged the tribunal to grant motions it filed on April 23 and May 9.

The two motions is challenging the petition on the grounds that PDM and its candidate failed to comply with paragraph 18 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act.

The electoral body argued that the petitioners not adding the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, as a necessary party, was fatal to the competence of the petition.

Similarly, Mr Buhari’s lawyer, Akin Olujimi, who moved two motions his client filed on May 19 and May 21, asked the tribunal to strike out or dismiss the petition in its entirety.

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On their part, APC through its lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi, in motions it filed on April 10 and May 15, also sought the dismissal of the petition.

However, PDM and its candidate, in counter-affidavits they filed through their lawyer, Aliyu Lemu, prayed the tribunal to ignore all the objections and proceed to hear their case on its merit.

The petitioners are seeking a fresh presidential election on the basis that their party logo was not included in the ballot paper that was used for the February 23 election that produced Mr Buhari.

Meanwhile, before it adjourned further proceedings on the pre-hearing session till June 27, the tribunal said it would determine the petitioners request for judgment to be entered against INEC over its alleged failure to submit its pre-hearing answers as provided by the Electoral Act.

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