(News investigators) The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal will today hear the motions brought by the presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, over the outcome of the February 25 election.
The presiding justice of the tribunal, Justice Haruna Tsammani, had on Monday scheduled the hearing on the responses to pre-hearing questions by the parties on Obi and LP’s petition.
The proceeding, which has been fixed for 2pm, is for the tribunal to review the compliance of parties to its directive to streamline issues they would rely on in the main hearing.
Similarly, Obi and LP will bring their motion for the live broadcast of proceedings of the tribunal because, according to them, the petitions are of public interest.
Tinubu wants Atiku’s petition on dual citizenship issue struck out
At the proceedings yesterday, the tribunal fixed May 11 for hearing the two motions by the president-elect and candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu, challenging Atiku’s petition.
In the first motion brought by his counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Tinubu is seeking to strike out some paragraphs in Atiku’s petition where he raised fresh issues, which he said were not pleaded in the original petition, while replying to his preliminary objection.
Atiku had contended that Tinubu did not meet the constitutional threshold and is constitutionally disabled from contesting for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because he forfeited a sum of $460,000 “as substituted by a competent authority, a sequel to a compromise agreement, and for narcotics-related crime (proceeds of crime) in the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division, Judge A. Nordberg.”
Atiku also claimed that Tinubu failed to disclose in his Form EC9 that he holds dual citizenship in Nigeria and Guinea, having voluntarily acquired the citizenship of the Republic of Guinea.
Atiku had further submitted that the grounds for non-qualification are competent, being a constitutional issue.
Tinubu, in his second motion, also asked the tribunal to dismiss the entire petition seeking the nullification of the election for being a breach of the Electoral Act, 2022, filed by Atiku at the pre-hearing stage for being incompetent.
Tinubu also contended that the petition was “vague, non-specific, nebulous, inchoate, incompetent, imprecise, fraught with ambiguity; and liable to be struck out by the court.”
PDP, Atiku seek live broadcast of proceedings
Still on Thursday, the tribunal will also hear the motion by Atiku seeking live broadcast of the proceedings.
Counsel to Atiku, Chris Uche (SAN), said the application is “an order directing the court’s registry and parties on modalities for admission of media practitioners and equipment into the courtroom.”
Atiku contended that the application for live broadcast of the tribunal’s proceedings was backed by the Nigerian constitution as well as that the matters of the 2023 general elections were of national concern and public interest.
Court fixes May 11 for Tinubu’s motion seeking dismissal of APM’s petition
Meanwhile, Tinubu has also filed a motion seeking the dismissal of the petition by the All Peoples Movement (APM) challenging his election at the pre-hearing stage.
The presiding justice of the tribunal, Justice Haruna Tsammani, on Tuesday, also fixed May 11 for the hearing of the motion.
The panel adjourned the application after the lawyers in the matter submitted that they had responded to the pre-hearing questions raised in Form TF 008 over the APM petition.
At the proceeding on Tuesday, APM, through its lawyers O. A. Atoyebi (SAN) and S. A. T. Abubakar Esq, informed the tribunal that the party has responded to pre-hearing questions raised by respondents in its petition – INEC, APC, Tinubu, Shettima and Masari. In his response, Fagbemi told the tribunal that he had on May 8 filed two motions challenging APM’s petition and they are ripe for hearing.
Fagbemi said the APM’s petition was worthless and disclosed no reasonable cause of action, maintaining that it has no leg upon which to stand.
He insisted in the motion that the election being challenged by APM was lawfully conducted and a clear winner declared in line with the provisions of the law.
Similarly, Olujinmi said he had filed responses on behalf of Tinubu and Shettima on May 3, 2023, adding that the processes are ready for determination and that he will respond at the pre-hearing date.
On his part, the lead counsel to INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), said he has filed answers to the questions raised on the pre-hearing proceedings.
Justice Tsammani advised the parties to examine all the applications filed and decide which they would object to and which they wouldn’t before the next pre-hearing session.
In its petition, APM contends that Tinubu is not qualified to contest the 2023 presidential election because he has not produced a validly nominated running mate.
APM contends that Shettima was still the nominated senatorial candidate of the APC for Borno Central Senatorial District, Borno State, as of the date he was nominated as the vice presidential candidate on July 14, 2022.
The party argued that despite withdrawing his senatorial candidature on July 15, 2022, he had breached the Electoral Act, 2022, via double or multiple nominations.
APM and its presidential candidate, Chichi Ojei, also contended that the election was marred by widespread irregularities.