The Presidential Election Petition Court (PREPEC) has issued an order for the consolidation of the petitions filed by the Labour Party (LP), the Allied People’s Movement (APM), and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the outcome of the recent presidential election. The presiding justice, Justice Haruna Tsammani, leading a five-member panel, stated that the consolidation aims to expedite the hearing process due to the similarity of issues raised by the parties involved. As a result, the court has scheduled the commencement of the petitions’ hearings for May 30.
Initially, five political parties expressed their grievances against the declaration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the winner of the presidential election held on February 25. However, during the pre-trial phase, the Action Alliance (AA) and the Action People’s Party (APP) withdrew their petitions against Tinubu, leaving the LP, APM, and PDP as the remaining petitioners.
The three remaining petitioners have based their petitions on various grounds, including irregularities, substantial non-compliance, and corrupt practices. They are requesting the court to invalidate the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the election. Additionally, the petitioners are seeking Tinubu’s disqualification on allegations of perjury and drug-related offenses. Notably, the APM is urging the court to declare the “placeholder” introduced by Tinubu for his vice-presidential nominee as illegal, thereby invalidating the participation of the APC, Tinubu, and his Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, in the presidential election.
Moreover, both the LP and PDP are challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) decision to declare Tinubu as the winner, arguing that he did not secure 25% of the lawful votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Meanwhile, Tinubu and the APC have announced their decision not to engage with the media further regarding the court proceedings. Chief Niyi Akintola, a senior lawyer representing Tinubu and the APC, informed the court that all 38 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) representing them have agreed not to speak to the press about the ongoing proceedings. This decision was made during one of their recent meetings.
In a related development, PREPEC denied the request made by Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, the presidential candidate and his running mate from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), for live streaming of the petition proceedings. The court declined their request on Monday.[logo-slider]