APM Set to Open and Close Case at Tribunal on June 21st, Refuses to Withdraw Petition

The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) was informed by the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) that they intend to present their case in a single day, calling only one witness.

POLITICS NIGERIA reports that APM had filed a petition challenging the outcome of the 2023 presidential election, but the proceedings were delayed due to their inability to obtain a Supreme Court judgment related to the matter.

The Supreme Court ruling, delivered on May 26, affirmed President Bola Tinubu’s eligibility to run in the February 25 presidential election.

This newspaper learnt that when the APM was scheduled to present their case, President Tinubu’s counsel alerted the court to the fact that the primary issue raised by the APM in their petition had already been decided by the apex court.

During the resumed hearing on Monday in Abuja, the APM’s counsel, Mr. Gideon Idiagbonya, informed the court that they only had one witness to call. He requested an adjournment to allow them to present their case in one day since they had just one witness.

“We had planned to begin our case today, but during a pre-trial conference with our sole witness, we discovered that certain documents we intended to submit were not included in the file provided by the previous counsel. Therefore, we kindly request another date to open and close our case since we have only one witness,” Mr. Idiagbonya stated.

The counsel explained that the petitioner had reviewed the Supreme Court judgment and believed they could proceed with the petition.

Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), expressed no objection to the adjournment request.

Meanwhile, Olanipekin, another counsel, stated that he had also examined the judgment and insisted that it resolved the issues raised by the petitioner. However, he did not oppose the adjournment application. Likewise, Mr. Charles Edosanwan, SAN, counsel for the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Mr. G.M Isho, counsel for the 5th respondent, Mr. Kabiru Masari, did not object to the adjournment either.

Justice Haruna Tsammani, the court’s chairman, adjourned the hearing of the petition until June 21 to allow the petitioner to present their case, as requested by the counsel.

The judgment in question, issued on May 26 by the Supreme Court, dismissed the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) lawsuit seeking to invalidate President Tinubu’s election based on allegations of double nomination against his running mate, now Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

In its petition, labelled CA/PEPC/04/2023, the APM argued that Kabiru Masari’s withdrawal, who was initially nominated as the APC’s vice-presidential candidate, rendered Tinubu’s candidacy invalid according to Section 131(c) and 142 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

The party contended that there was a three-week gap between the time Masari, listed as the 5th respondent in the petition, expressed his intention to withdraw, the actual withdrawal of his nomination, and when Tinubu replaced him with Shettima.

Furthermore, they asserted that Tinubu’s candidacy had expired at the time he nominated Shettima as Masari’s replacement.

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