Court Consolidates Atiku, Obi, APM’s Petition; Overrules Tinubu, APC’s Objection

The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), sitting at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, has consolidated the three remaining petitions challenging the emergence of All Progressives Congress’ (APC) candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu as winner of the February 25 presidential election.

The only three petitions before the court are those filed by Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party), Peter Obi (Labour Party) and that of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM).

Information Nigeria reports that on Saturday, a five-member panel of the court, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, proposed that the surviving petitions be consolidated as provided in Paragraph 50 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act 2022.

The paragraph states: “Where two or more petitions are presented in relation to the same election or return, all the petitions shall be consolidated, considered and be dealt with as one petition unless the tribunal or court shall otherwise direct in order to do justice or an objection against one or more of the petitions has been upheld by the tribunal or court.”

But in opposition to the motion, the APC and Tinubu, on Monday, insisted that they would be greatly jeopardised and the interest of justice would not be served if the request for the petition consolidation is granted.

APC’s counsel, Charles Edosomwen, addressing the court, argued that it would not be able to defend its victory perfectly if the petitions are consolidated.

According to the Party,  it would not be able to engage the huge number of witnesses already lined up to testify against it and its presidential candidate in the election, especially on the myriad of allegations against them.

READ ALSO: Joe Biden Announces Delegation To Attend Tinubu’s Inauguration

Similarly, Tinubu’s team of lawyers led by Akin Olujimi, faulted paragraph 50 of the 5th Schedule of the Electoral Act 2022, which empowers the Election Petition Court to consolidate petitions if they are against the same election and the same declaration of the winner.

He argued that different issues were raised in the petitions against him and would require that the petitions be heard differently.

However, the other three petitioners supported the proposal and pleaded with the court to discredit the objections and consolidate the petitions for a quick hearing.

Eyitayo Jegede, counsel to Atiku and his Party, argued that the consolidation of all petitions will afford speedy determination of the petitions, and does not in any way make any of the petitions lose their character.

He also argued that the court does not require the consent to or concurrence of any of the litigating parties

Meanwhile, Femi Ihero, lawyer for the Independent National Electoral Commission, said, “We are indifferent to whatever order the court makes. I am not in support or in opposition.”

Awa Kalu, counsel to Peter Obi and his Party, said, “Taking into account the facts before you, and issues arising before you in the different cases, whatever the court directs, whatever the court decides.”

But ruling on its motion on Tuesday, the court led by Justice Tsammani, dismissed the objection of the APC and Tinubu, while moving to consolidate the three surviving petitions.

Tsammani also ordered the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, to defend his victory at the election along with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) within five days.