Presidential Tussle: Supreme Court fixes Aug 20 to entertain Atiku, PDP applications

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By Martins Odeh

Abuja – The hearing of a set of application filed by Atiku Abubakar, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging some decisions of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal was on Tuesday adjourned until Aug.20.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the adjournment hinged on a fresh filing aimed at including additional facts and materials by the applicants.

Mr Paul Erokoro, SAN, Counsel for the applicants had informed the court about the additional motion thereby stalling the proceedings.

Mr Yunus Usman, SAN, Counsel for INEC, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Counsel for President Muhammadu Buhari and Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, Counsel for All Progressive Congress (APC) sought for  time react to the new issues raised by the applicants.

In a short ruling, Justice Mary Peter-Odili, who led a five-man panel of justices of the court ordered that the all applications be adjourned until Aug.20 for the respondents to file their reactions.

NAN reports that the applicants are challenging the alleged failure of the electoral body to allow them access to the acclaimed central server used for the Feb.23 general election.

The petitioners also approached the apex court to challenge the proceeding of June 11 at the tribunal where they claimed APC ambushed them by secretly withdrawing a motion and replacing same with another not responded to.

NAN reports that Justice Garba Mohammed, Chairman of the tribunal had in a unanimous decision on July 3, dismissed a prayer by the applicants to re-open arguments on the APC application that sought dismissal of the petition.

Garba held that the petitioners failed to adduce cogent reasons why such request should be granted, having failed to file a counter affidavit against issues raised earlier.

The tribunal had on June 11 ruled that the petitioners failed to file counter affidavit against APC’s motion seeking dismissal of the petition on accounts of unsubstantiated allegations of non-compliance and malpractices.

The tribunal had held that its record showed that the petitioners were duly served with APC’s motion on May 16 which gave them seven days to file their counter-affidavit.

The APC had urged the tribunal to strike out allegations of widespread malpractices made on the conduct of the presidential elections in 10 states from the petition.

The party alleged grave errors, adding that the petition was shrouded in unsubstantiated issues in the 10 states.

The party also claimed that Atiku merely made vague allegations of electoral malpractices in the 10 states, adding that vague allegations were unknown to law.

The States were Borno; Yobe; Jigawa; Kebbi; Kaduna; Kano; Gombe; Niger; Katsina; Bauchi states.

APC, had also in the motion invited the tribunal to strike out allegations of act of violence leveled against Vice President, Chief of Army Staff, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Police and several other individuals who were not listed as parties in the petition. 

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