From Olalekan Awojodu, Abuja
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, (PREPEC), sitting in Abuja Wednesday adjourned till May 17 further proceedings in the petition filed by the candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr. Peter Obi.
The tribunal announced the adjournment in view of agreement reached by all the parties in the matter.
In the petition, the LP candidate is challenging the outcome of the 2023 presidential election which was won by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC; the President-elect, Bola Tinubu; Vice-President-elect, Kashim Shettima, and All Progressives Congress, APC are the 1st to 4th respondents in the petition.
The LP candidate prayed the court to declare that Tinubu was not duly elected by majority of the lawful votes cast at the electiion on the ground that Tinubu was not qualified to contest.
Similarly, he is also contending that Tinubu’s running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, became the vice presidential candidate, at the time he was still the nominated candidate of the APC for the Borno Central Senatorial election.
Obi further challenged Tinubu’s eligibility to contest the presidential election, alleging that he was previously fined $460,000 by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Case No: 93C 4483, for an offence involving dishonesty and drug trafficking.
At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, Obi’s lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu, SAN told the court that the parties met and agreed to ask for an adjournment to enable them harmonise processes and also exchange necessary legal documents.
Uzoukwu reminded the tribunal that there were many processes and motions yet to be filed in the matter.
He maintained further that the adjournment would enable an expeditious hearing and determination of the case.
He said : “My Lords, we met and agreed that the matter should be adjourned till next week Wednesday, so that when we are coming back, we will be sure that the processes are ripe for hearing.
“We also agreed that before then, we will meet and take decision on documents that are not in contention and documents that are controversial,”
Also taking a position, , INEC lawyer, Mr. A. B. Mahmood (SAN), told the tribunal that the parties met and agreed to ask for an adjournment after a brief meeting.
Toeing the same line, counsel to Tinubu and Shettima, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), noted that the adjournment was necessary “ assuring the tribunal that all the applications will be ready for adoption on the next adjourned date.
In his own submission, APC counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), also aligned himself, saying his client believed that the adjournment would hasten the proceedings.
After hearing out all parties, the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel acceded to the adjournment request.
The court subsequently directed the parties to identify core issues to be determined in the petition and adjourned further hearing till May 17, 2023.
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