…Tinubu’s Legal Team Bars All Interviews During Trial The Presidential Election Petition Court on Tuesday ordered the consolidation of the three petitions by by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Peter Obi and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) challenging the victory of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Nigeria’s president-elect in the polls of February 25. The five-member
…Tinubu’s Legal Team Bars All Interviews During Trial
The Presidential Election Petition Court on Tuesday ordered the consolidation of the three petitions by by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Peter Obi and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) challenging the victory of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Nigeria’s president-elect in the polls of February 25.
The five-member panel of the court headed by Justice Haruna Tsammani hinged the decision to time constraint in their ruling on Tuesday. The court has 180 days from the time the three petitions were filed in mid-March to conclude the hearing and deliver its judgement on 16th September, this year.
In a ruling detailing a report of its pre-hearing session on Mr Obi’s petition, on Tuesday, the court ordered a consolidation of the three pending petitions. The Presiding Judge, Justice Tsammani, citing Paragraph 50 of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act 2022, stressed that the interest of justice would be served by a merger of the petitions.
“The justice of these petitions demands that this petition be consolidated,” Mr Tsammani said.
Justice Haruna Tsammani said that the consolidation which is aimed at speedy hearing of the petitions was predicated on the grounds that the issues raised by the parties are similar. Accordingly, the court held that hearing in the petitions would commence from May 30.
After consolidating the suits, the court proceeded to announce a time-table of how proceedings would progress at the Tribunal. The Court ordered Mr Peter Obi and his Labour Party to prove their case within three weeks instead of the seven weeks they had requested for during the pre-hearing sessions.
The court gave Mr Obi and the Labour Party 30th May,2023 for the commencement of hearing of their substantive petition and they are expected to conclude their case on 23rd June, this year.
As stated in Section 25(1) and (2) of the First Schedule Section 140(1) and 152 of the Rules of Procedure for Election Petitions, the court said it would conduct proceedings on a day-to-day basis from Mondays to Saturdays.
For the respondents in the petitions – INEC, APC, Senator Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima, the vice-president-elect – they have five days each to present their defence.
Similarly, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar will use three weeks from May 30 to June June 20, to prove his case. First respondent which is INEC has two days; 2nd respondent Bola Tinubu and 3rd respondent (APC) have 5 days each for their cases.
Speaking on the allotment of time, the Court said petitioners have 30 minutes each to lead or cross-examine their or adverse parties’ star witnesses. The other witnesses, according to the Court have 20 minutes each to testify and the legal team of the adverse parties will have five minutes each for re-examining them.
With the consolidation of the petitions and the tribunal’s decision to deliver it’s judgement within 180 days, witnesses are not expected to present oral evidence, rather they are expected to adopt their “witness statement on oath” which was filed along with the petition.
On July 16, petitioners are expected to close all evidence in support of their case while INEC, Tinubu and APC will present a written address on July 26. Atiku Abubakar’s written address will be presented on August 2 while the respondents would reply on August 7, 2023.
The respondents will adopt their written addresses on August 8, 2023.
Tinubu’s Legal Team Bars All Interviews During Trial
Meanwhile, the legal team to the President-elect, Senator Tinubu in the on-going Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has placed a ban on media interview throughout the defense of the President-elect in the three petitions against him. The legal team ordered that any lawyer in its corner that flouts the ban, no matter his rank or how highly placed, would be kicked out of the defense team.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, Chief Adeniyi Akintola conveyed the decision of the team to the court at Tuesday’s proceedings. He did not adduce any reason for the ban. He said that the same ban has been extended to their client and President-elect, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The senior lawyer said that the ban on media interview by the legal team would be strictly observed and enforced.
Presiding Judge of the Court, Justice Tsammani ,however, did not react to the decision when presented in the open court. and APC has disclosed their intention not to speak with the media any further on the court proceedings.1 comment
Zachariah wisdomMay 23, 2023, 5:20 pm
Thanks for the Neatly Knitted Journalism!REPLY