Tribunal: Tinubu, APC oppose move to merge petitions

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On Monday, the All Progressive Congress and Bola Tinubu, its leader, rejected a plan to combine the three remaining petitions being heard at the Presidential Election Petition Court, where the results of the presidential election on February 25 are being contested.

Earlier on Saturday, Justice Haruna Tsammani, the panel’s chair, directed attorneys to consult the petition regarding the idea of consolidating the three remaining petitions to be decided as one, and to do so, consult paragraph 50 of the first schedule of the Electoral Act.

 

The counsels were instructed to talk with their clients and report back on the meeting’s results.

Consolidating the petitions would be against the interests of justice, according to Charles Edosomwam, SAN, counsel for the APC, who spoke during the matter’s resumed sitting.

The justice factor, he continued, is a crucial issue to take into account. He also noted that “the grounds are different and the wide range of issues raised by parties are also different.”

If the consolidation is thought about, “Major issues before this court will be lost like a pin in a haystack,” he warned.

The respondent won’t be able to successfully defend the case, pragmatically speaking.

We believe that the pursuit of convenience cannot justify sacrificing the pursuit of justice.

In a similar vein, Tinubu asserted through his legal team, which was led by Akin Olujinmi SAN, that grouping all of the petitions would negatively impact his ability to address all of the complaints made against him.

He claimed that the petitioners are asking for various reliefs.

Justice should be a constraint on this court’s ability to use its discretion in granting the order for consolidation, according to Olujinmi.

He argued that the court had misinterpreted the Electoral Act’s referenced provision.

“My lords, it cannot be said that the exercise of power is mandatory when the exercise is subject to the limitation of certain conditions.”

“Some issues raised in one petition are absent from others. Many different problems exist. The same holds true for evidential issues that are based on the pleadings that the parties to this case have exchanged.

We want to be clear that it will be very difficult for us to agree to the petitions being consolidated at this time.

The Independent National Electoral Commission asserted, however, that it would leave the decision regarding the consolidation up to the court’s discretion.

Nevertheless, the PEP Court had started the process by hearing a challenge to the results of the 2023 presidential election from five aggrieved parties.

However, the Action Alliance withdrew its petition, and the Action Peoples Party did the same two days later. As a result, the three remaining petitioners were the Peoples Democratic Party, the Labour Party, and the Allied Peoples Movement.

 

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