ABUJA–The Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja, on Friday, deferred hearing on the petition the Allied Peoples Movement, APM, filed to challenge the outcome of the 2023 presidential election, till June 9.
he adjournment followed the inability of a new counsel that appeared for the petitioner, Mr. Yakubu Maikasua, SAN, to obtain a copy of the judgement of the Supreme Court that affirmed President Bola Tinubu’s eligibility to contest the presidential election that held on February 25.
President Tinubu had on the last adjourned date, May 30, when the petitioner was billed to open its case, drew attention of the court to the fact that the main issue the APM raised in its petition, was already decided by the apex court. Tinubu’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, maintained that an appeal the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, filed against his client, which was dismissed by the Supreme Court, bordered on the legality or otherwise of his client’s nomination to contest the election by the All Progressives Congress, APC,..
He argued that the said judgement of the apex court touched on the substance of APM’s petition.
Chief Olanipekun, SAN, stressed that the only ground the APM canvassed in its petition, was the fact that the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, had double nominations, prior to the presidential election.
Insisting that the issue had been settled by the Supreme Court, Tinubu’s lead counsel, said: “As officers of this court, it behoves us to assist the court in all circumstances and also bring to the attention of yours lordships, decisions of courts, even from other jurisdictions, which relate to any matter pending before yours lordships.
“Even if those decisions do not necessarily align with the interest of out clients. If becomes more imperative if we are aware or abreast of any decision of the Supreme Court which touches on matters within the proceedings before your lordships.
“In this wise my lords, this particular petition which has just been called in respect of which the sole issue that is being ventilated is the nomination of the 1st Respondent who we represent.
“We are aware that the Supreme Court gave a judgement on the issue on Friday, May 23, in respect of appeal No: SC/CV/501/2023, and the parties involved were PDP Vs INEC& 3 Ors, where the apex court considered all the issues and resolved them.
“We promise that within next two days, certified true copies of the judgement will be made available.
“We will also confirm from the petitioners, whether in the light of the Supreme Court decision, there will still be the need to continue with this petition,” he added.
Following an application by counsel that appeared for the petitioners, Mr. S.A.T. Abubakar, the Justice Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel adjourned the matter.
However, at the resumed proceedings on Friday, Mr. Maikasua, SAN, who took over the case from Mr. Abubakar, told the court that the petitioner had yet to obtain a copy of the Supreme Court judgement.
“My lords, I am not in a position to take a stand on the status of the petition. We are doing all we can to obtain the judgement.
“In the circumstance, may we humbly request for an adjournment to enable us to obtain a copy of the judgement so that we can be able to take a position in the status of the petition,” APM’s lawyer, Maikasua, SAN, added.
Both counsel that appeared for President Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima, Chief Akin Olujinmi, SAN, and that of the APC, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, said they were not opposed to the request for an adjournment.
Likewise, counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mr. Kemi Pinhero, SAN, did not object to the request.
Consequently, the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led panel adjourned further proceedings on the petition till next Friday.