Alex Enumah in Abuja
Presiding Justice of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, Justice Mohammed Garba, on Thursday declined to grant a request seeking to strike out the name of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) from the petition against the return of President Muhammadu Buhari.
National Chairman of the PDM, Chief Frank Igwebuike, had asked the Tribunal to remove the name of the PDM from the petition challenging the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a fresh application brought by his counsel, Morrison Onunu on July 9, the National Chairman said the desire to withdraw from the petition was in the interest of the nation and not for any other consideration.
But in a unanimous ruling delivered Thursday, the five man panel dismissed the application for being incompetent having brought outside the pre-hearing session of the PDM’s petition.
According to the court, pre-hearing in the PDM’s petition was concluded on June 27, 2019 and presentation of the pre-hearing session report fixed for July 10, while the application for withdrawal was filed on July 9.
The court held that the application having been filed outside the pre-hearing session robbed the court of the jurisdiction to entertain it.
The court further held that failure of the applicant to obtain leave of court to file outside the pre-hearing session dealt a fatal blow to the application.
Justice Garba added that the applicant did not also state or show reason or any extreme circumstances to warrant the granting of leave to hear the petition outside the pre-hearing session.
He held that since the application did not meet the requirements for the court to adjudicate over it, it renders it a nullity.