Presidential Election Tribunal: Court Adjourns Peter Obi’s Petition Against Tinubu To May 19th
The pre-hearing of the petition against President-elect Bola Tinubu by the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, has been adjourned by the Presidential Election Petition Court to Friday, May 19, 2023.
Peter Obi is contesting the declaration of Bola Tinubu as the candidate of the All Progressive Party (APC) and the winner of the 2023 presidential election.
The tribunal, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, has rescheduled the date to Friday, May 19, as the parties involved were unable to reach an agreement on documents and other matters. Julius Abure, the National Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), was present in court on Wednesday, along with Lamidi Apapa, the factional chairman of the party.
The pre-hearing session for Peter Obi and the LP’s petition, which was previously adjourned to May 17, was postponed last week at the request of the petitioners.
On Wednesday, the justices arrived to start the day’s proceedings but did not acknowledge the party’s representation other than Peter Obi. A mild drama unfolded between the two factions of the Labour Party regarding which group should be present in court.
When the petition was called, the Tribunal declined to recognize Lamidi Apapa, the acting National Chairman of the party, and Dudu Manugu, the National Women’s Leader of the party, as representatives of the Labour Party.
Justice Haruna Tsamani observed that if two individuals are representing the party, their names will not be officially recorded. There was a disagreement when Apapa tried to occupy the seat designated for Abure.
During the continued hearing, the counsel for the Labour Party, Livy Uzoukwu, informed the court that the meeting aimed at agreeing on the documents to be presented for the hearing had not produced significant results. Uzoukwu stated that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had only provided 30% of the required documents.
He also stated that this contradicts the commitment made by the INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, to provide all the necessary documents. Additionally, he mentioned that the party has not received documents related to Rivers State.
According to him, the Resident Electoral Commissioner claimed that there are no EC8A forms available, but despite requesting written confirmation, it has not been provided.
However, the counsel for INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud, expressed surprise at the allegations made by the Labour Party’s counsel. He stated that the Labour Party did not attend the agreed-upon meeting and walked out of the rescheduled meeting.
Abubakar further stated that the documents for Rivers and Sokoto states were indeed provided, but the Labour Party declined to pay the sum of 1.5 million naira for Sokoto State. Additionally, the Form EC8A for Rivers State has not been given to them.
He mentioned that although some documents were given to the party, they refused to collect them until the entire set was complete.
He assured the court that they are making every effort to assist openly and transparently.
Furthermore, he emphasized their willingness to pay any amount necessary to obtain the required documents.