On Monday, the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) dismissed an attempt by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to halt the petition filed by the Allied People’s Movement (APM). The APM had challenged Tinubu’s qualification for the February 25, 2023, Presidential election.
Tinubu’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, had sought to rely on a Supreme Court judgment delivered on May 26, 2023, to terminate the APM’s petition. However, the request was rejected by the court. Tinubu argued that the Apex Court had already addressed the main issue raised in the APM’s petition through its judgment in a case filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He urged the court to apply the spirit and content of the Supreme Court judgment to halt the proceedings on the APM’s petition.
Presiding Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani disagreed with Tinubu and emphasized the importance of fair hearing. Justice Tsammani instructed Tinubu to reserve his objections to the hearing of the petition for the final address stage of the court’s proceedings.
The APC, through its counsel Charles Edosomwen SAN, also raised similar objections against the APM’s petition based on the same grounds. However, the PEPC rejected the objections for the same reason, asserting the need for fair hearing.
The APM’s lawyer, Mr. Gideon Ijiagbonya, informed the court that they had received the Supreme Court judgment being relied upon to terminate their petition. After reviewing the judgment, he concluded that there was merit in the APM’s petition and requested the court to proceed with the hearing. However, he sought an adjournment until June 26 to obtain a crucial document from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to support their case.
Justice Tsammani rejected the request for a week-long adjournment and scheduled the hearing of the petition for Wednesday, June 21.