The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has merged the petitions from different political parties during the presentation of the pre-hearing report and trial schedule.
Justice Haruna Tsammani, chairman of the five-man panel, read the report and announced the decision to hear all the petitions as one. The hearing of the petition is set to begin on 30th May. After the adoption of written addresses on August 5, 2023, the court will prepare for judgment.
Atiku Abubakar, Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and his legal team, led by Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, expressed support for the motion to merge the 3 cases challenging Bola Tinubu‘s victory in the 2023 elections. They emphasized the significance of the petitions and called for a prompt hearing.
Atiku cited provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 that allow the court to merge applications for expedited disposition in the interest of justice. He argued that despite being filed by different parties, the 3 petitions aimed to address the same issues: the 2023 presidential election and Tinubu’s declaration as the winner.
Atiku thus urged the court to dismiss Tinubu’s and the APC’s objections, claiming that they were attempting to delay the hearing and impede natural justice.
Represented by Chief Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) stated its intention to comply with the court’s decision.
However, earlier objections were raised by Bola Tinubu and his legal team, led by Chief Akin Olujinmi, SAN, on behalf of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). They argued that merging the petitions would hinder their ability to adequately defend against the points raised by the petitioners.