Tribunal: Tinubu, APC oppose move to merge petitions
The proposal to combine the three remaining petitions being heard at the Presidential Election Petition Court where the result of the February 25 presidential election is being contested was rejected on Monday by the All Progressive Congress and its standard bearer, Bola Tinubu.
Earlier on Saturday, Justice Haruna Tsammani, the panel’s chair, directed attorneys to the petition and advised them to review Section 50 of the Electoral Act before considering the possibility of combining the three remaining petitions into a single one.
It instructed the counsels to speak with their clients and report back on the meeting’s results.
Charles Edosomwam, SAN, the attorney for the APC, said that consolidating the petitions would be against the interests of justice after the hearing on the matter was resumed.
The justice factor, he continued, is a crucial factor to take into account. He also noted that “the grounds are different and the wide range of issues raised by parties are also different.”
If the consolidation is taken into consideration, he claimed, “Major issues before this court will be lost like a pin in a haystack.”
Furthermore, the respondent will be unable to successfully defend the case from a practical standpoint.
Our stance is that the pursuit of convenience cannot be justified at the expense of the pursuit of justice.
Similar to this, Tinubu asserted through his legal team, which was led by Akin Olujinmi SAN, that the consolidation of all the petitions would negatively impact his ability to respond to all of the accusations made against him.
The petitioners, he claimed, are requesting various reliefs.
According to Olujinmi, “The issue of justice should be a restraint on the power of this court to exercise its discretion in granting the order for consolidation.”
He argued that the Electoral Act provision the court cited was not unqualified.
“My lords, it cannot be said that the exercise of power is mandatory when it is constrained by certain conditions.”
There are petitions that raise issues that others do not. The problems differ. The same holds true for any evidential questions based on the parties’ exchanged pleadings in this case.
We want to be clear that it will be extremely difficult for us to approve the consolidation of the petitions at this time.
The Independent National Electoral Commission asserted that it would defer to the court’s judgment on the consolidation question.
Nevertheless, the PEP Court had started the case with five resentful parties contesting the results of the 2023 presidential election.
The Peoples Democratic Party, the Labour Party, and the Allied Peoples Movement were the three remaining petitioners after the Action Alliance and the Action Peoples Party both withdrew their cases.