Presidential Election: Court adjourns Obi, LP’s petition

The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has further adjourned pre-hearing in the petitions filed by Peter Obi and his Labour Party until Friday.

The panel, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, adjourned after parties submitted on their meeting promised on 10 May on exchange processes, responses and harmonisation.

After listening to the submissions, Mr Tsammani said the petitioners would state their position and tender documents.

”The petition is further adjourned until 19 May (Friday),” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the court had on 10 May adjourned until today (Wednesday) based on agreement among the parties to the suit.

Mr Obi and the LP are contesting the outcome of the 25 February presidential election through his petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023.

He joined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the winner of the election and president-elect, Bola Tinubu, his running mate, Kashim Shettima, and the All Progressives Congress (APC), as defendants.

Counsel for the petitioners, Livy Uzoukwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), informed the court that INEC had yet to produce the documents his team requested.

He said INEC provided less than 30 per cent of the documents in Rivers and Sokoto states.

The Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) counsel, Abubakar Mahmoud, a SAN, pledged to hasten the proceedings.

He claimed that the petitioners refused to attend the meeting of the parties agreed on at the last sitting on 10 May.

He said he called the petitioners’ lead counsel to ask why their team was not at the meeting, and he said they were not aware.

Mr Mahmoud alleged that the petitioners walked out of the meeting on Tuesday.

Counsel for Messrs Tinubu and Shettima, Wole Olanipakun, a SAN, recalled that his team to the suit agreed to set up a team over the issues of accessing records at a meeting on 10 May. He said the team was led by Ogwu Onoja, SAN, and A.A. Malik, SAN and others.

Mr Olanipekun said he put a call across to the petitioners’ lead counsel asking how they would proceed in court today.

He said the petitioners, who had yet to respond to some of his filings, said they needed up to Friday to do so

The APC counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, also a SAN, said there should not be a mistake of the subpoena at this stage, saying it is whatever document is produced that should be brought to the table.

He further said the petitioners should look at the fundamental cause, which is the refusal to pay the necessary fee as required by the law

He added that the court officials were present when the petitioners walked out, adding that Victor Umoh, SAN, and others represented the team for the 4th respondent.

He said the effect of the report was that all certified true documents would not be objected to.

Responding, the petitioners ‘ counsel, Mr Uzoukwu, told the court that he was concerned by the language of his colleagues.

NAN reports INEC had declared Mr Tinubu as the winner of the 25 February presidential election after securing the majority of votes cast at the poll.

He said Mr Tinubu met the constitutional benchmark of scoring 25% in two-thirds of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, according to INEC.

Disagreeing with the outcome of the result, Mr Obi and his party, LP, filed a petition challenging the victory.