* To commence hearing May 30
Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Presidential Election Petition Court (PREPEC) has ordered the consolidation of the petitions of the Labour Party (LP), the Allied People’s Movement (APM) and the Peoples Democratic (Party) challenging the outcome of the last presidential election.
The presiding justice of the five-member panel hearing the various petitions against the declaration of the All Progressives Congress (APC’s) candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as winner of the February 25 presidential election, Justice Haruna Tsammani, said that the consolidation, which is aimed at speedy hearing of the petitions is predicated on the grounds that the issues raised by the parties are similar.
Accordingly, the court held that hearing in the petitions would commence May 30.
Although five political parties had initially registered their greviances against the declaration of Tinubu as winner of the presidential election, however, the Action Alliance (AA) and the Action People’s Party (APP) had, at the opening of pre-trial, withdrawn their petitions against Tinubu, remaining the LP, APM and PDP.
The three remaining petitioners anchored their petitions on grounds such as irregularities, substantial non-compliance, as well as corrupt practices etc, upon which they are asking the court to set aside the declaration of Tinubu as winner of the election.
Besides, while the petitioners are seeking the disqualification of Tinubu over alleged perjury and drug-related offences, the APM is particularly urging the court to hold that the “place holder” introduced by Tinubu in respect of his vice-president nominee was unknown to law and as such the court should void the participation of the APC, Tinubu and his Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, in the February 25 presidential election.
In addition, both the LP and PDP are faulting INEC’s return of Tinubu on the grounds that Tinubu did not score 25% of lawful votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Meanwhile, Tinubu and APC has disclosed their intention not to speak with the media any further on the court proceedings.
A senior lawyer in the team of Tinubu and the APC, Chief Niyi Akintola, informed the court that “we have agreed on this side that no lawyer will speak with the press on the proceedings”.
According to Akintola, the about 38 SANs representing Tinubu and the APC took the decision recently in one of their meetings.
The PREPEC had Monday refused to grant Atiku and Obi’s request for live streaming of the proceedings regarding their petitions.