Home AFRICA Presidential tribunal begins hearing of Atiku, 3 others’ petitions challenging Buhari’s election Read more at: https://dailytimes.ng/presidential-tribunal-begins-hearing-of-atiku-3-others-petitions-challenging-buharis-election/

Presidential tribunal begins hearing of Atiku, 3 others’ petitions challenging Buhari’s election Read more at: https://dailytimes.ng/presidential-tribunal-begins-hearing-of-atiku-3-others-petitions-challenging-buharis-election/

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The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Wednesday sat to consider the pre -hearing information sheet filed by four petitioners whose petitions are challenging the election of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The Tribunal session presided by the President of the Court of Appeal Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa is a prelude to the pre-hearing session of the election petitions which is now fixed for May 14, 2019 and May 15, 2019 for Chief Ambrose Albert Awuru and Hope Democratic Party, and Atiku Abubakar and Peoples Democratic Party respective petitions. Two other petitions filed by Coalition for Change (C4C) and Ceff Chizee Ojinika , and Pastor Aminch Habu and Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) could not get dates for pre hearing session as the processes filed before the tribunal were short of the requirements of pre hearing session. Before the commencement of session yesterday President of the Court of Appeal Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa appealed to litigants to shun actions that may put the five man panel in a negative light. Atiku and three other presidential candidates are challenging the outcome of the February 23 presidential election in which President Muhammadu Buhari was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who in the four petitions featured as the 1st respondent Justice Bulkachuwa, who made the appeal, specifically warned counsel and parties in the various petitions to avoid discussing daily proceedings of the tribunal in the media and other public space. Bulkachuwa further warned that the tribunal would not hesitate to weild the big stick against anyone found culpable in that regards, adding that the task before the tribunal is a serious national assignment and must be seen as such by all. She noted that no matter how an election was conducted, there are bound to be complaints, hence the establishment of the tribunal to give speedy hearing on such complaints. Bulkachuwa, disclosed that there are currently 786 petitions against the outcome of the 2019 general election, with Imo State having the highest number of 76 and 6 tribunals. The presiding justice assured the litigants that the panel would be fair to all and would give equal time to all litigants, in its efforts at ensuring that justice is done and done expeditiously in all the cases before it. Responding, counel in the matters promised to play by the rules and give maximum cooperation to the panel. While Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Levi Ozoukwu is leading the legal team of Atiku and the PDP, Wole Olanipekun SAN and Lateef Fagbemi SAN are leading that of Buhari and APC respectively. Other members of the presidential panel include, Justices Abdul Aboki, Samuel Osiji, Joseph Ikyegh and Peter Olabisi-Igeh. The tribunal in stating that Proceedings would be on a daily basis called the first case, the petition of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and his Presidential candidate, Chief Albert Owuru. At the end of the identification and regularization of processes filed in the HDP petition, Justice bulkachuwa fixed May 14 for pre-hearing session of the petition. The tribunal adjourned petition filed by Atiku and PDP against INEC, Buhari and APC to May 15 for pre hearing session and to consider all pending applications relating or inhibiting the hearing of the petition. However, the tribunal declined to give definite date for hearing in the petition of Coalition for Change (C4C) and Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), following the inability of the two petitioners to serve processes on Buhari and other respondents. The tribunal declined to hear an exparte application filed by the C4C, praying for substituted service on President Buhari and his Vice, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, following flaws in the motion. The tribunal which has earlier set motion down for hearing later in the day found that the exparte application filed by Obed Agu, was not competent in law as it was not signed and has no seal of the counsel affixed to it as required by law. Besides, the counsel did not attached affidavit in support of the motion. Faced with the difficulty the counsel withdrew the application and told the tribunal that a fresh application would be filed in its place. The Court consequently struck out the applicatielection/

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