On Monday, Bola Tinubu, the newly elected president, and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) argued against uniting the three separate cases contesting the results of the 2023 presidential election.
News organizations learned that Tinubu’s top attorney, Akin Olujinmi (SAN), argued that the amalgamation of all petitions may impair their ability to respond to the numerous arguments made by the petitioners.
“My lords, the issue of justice should be a restraint on the power of this court to exercise its discretion in granting the order for consolidation,” Tinubu stated before the court, noting the numerous and various issues brought up by the petitioners.
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As required by Article 50 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja already announced its intention to combine all of the cases.
According to Tinubu’s attorney, the Electoral Act provision was not unqualified.
He said, “My lords, when the exercise of power is subject to a limitation of some conditions, then it cannot be said that the exercise is mandatory.
“There are issues raised in one petition that are not there in others. The issues vary. The same goes for evidential issues that are based on pleadings that have been exchanged by parties in this case.
“We want to make it clear at this stage that it will be absolutely difficult for us to consent to consolidation of the petitions.
“I most humbly urge your lordships not to grant the consolidation.”
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Similar to this, the APC’s legal representative, Mr. Charles Edosomwam, SAN, argued that the various bases and wide range of problems brought in the petitions could cause the consolidation to jeopardize justice.
Before your lordships can come to a proper verdict about these things, Edosomwam observed, “The justice aspect is a crucial topic for consideration.
“The many concerns brought up by parties are distinct, as are the grounds.
The trial will be disorganized, and the court’s important problems will be lost like a needle in a haystack.
Furthermore, the respondent will be unable to successfully defend the matter from a practical standpoint.
Our stance is that the pursuit of convenience cannot be justified at the expense of the pursuit of justice.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared that while it wasn’t opposed to the petition’s suggested consolidation, it would leave the decision to the court.
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The Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have filed petitions contesting the results of the election.
The Action Alliance (AA) and the Action Peoples Party (APP) have now withdrawn their suits, despite the fact that initially five petitions were submitted to contest Tinubu’s victory.
On Monday, the court made a pre-hearing report on the petitions available for viewing on Tuesday.
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