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Court consolidates Obi / LP, Atiku /PDP, AMP petitions



Atiku, Obi

Orders Atiku, Obi to present petitions against tinubu’s election in 3 weeks

The Presidential Election Petition Court ,PEPC, on Tuesday consolidated the petitions filed by Atiku Abubakar of the People Democratic Party ,PDP, Peter Obi of the Labour Party,LP, and Allied Peoples Movement, APM.

With the consolidation their petitions would be taken together as directed by the court . The order came just as the respondents : Ahmed Bola Tinubu and All Progressive Congress, APC, objected to the consolidation. The national electoral body, Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, did not oppose the consolidation.

The Court threw out the vehement objection of Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress APC to the consolidation.

However, PEPC has ordered the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party LP, Mr Peter Gregory Obi and his party to present their joint petition against the February 25 presidential election within three weeks.

The Court also ordered the President elect who is the target of the petition, Bola Tinubu to defend his victory at the election along with the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC within five days.

Obi through his counsel, Professor Awa Kalu SAN had requested for seven weeks to establish their allegations against the disputed election that produced Tinubu.

Presiding Justice of the five man panel of the Court of Appeal, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani issued the order on Tuesday while presenting the pre- hearing sessions report of the Court.

Among others, Justice Tsammani ordered that Obi must open his petition for hearing on May 30 and end same on June 23.

The Court said that it arrived at the decision because of the limited time within which the petition must be disposed off.

Immediately after the order of the Court was handed down, Obi who was in court to witness the proceedings took permission from the court and left on the ground that they were going to prepare for the full blown hearing of the petition.

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PDP has right to suspend, expel Wike if given fair hearing, Says Court



A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ruled that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has the right to suspend or expel former Governor of Rivers, Nyesom Wike, if the action is done in accordance with the law.

Justice James Omotosho stated this in a judgment he delivered on a suit filed by Wike, prior to the 2023 general elections.
The legal action had prevented the party from taking action against Wike whose acts were against the National leadership of PDP through the campaign.

Former Rivers State Governor, Wike , the leader of a power block had sued the PDP, its National Working Committee (NWC) and National Executive Committee (NEC) as 1st to 3rd respondents following the moves to suspend him for anti party activities.

Delivering judgement on Wednesday, Justice Omotosho said the court had considered the processes filed by parties and arguments of counsel and found as follows:

That suspending or expelling the applicant without affording him the right to defend himself would breach his fundamental rights as enshrined in the party’s and Nigeria’s constitutions.

That though the party had the right to suspend or expel its members, this must be done in compliance with its own law.

The judge said that though Section 46(1) of the law vested jurisdiction on the court if one’s rights had been breached, same court would not dabble into the internal affairs of any political party, except where the right of a member had been violated by the party without recourse to its own laws.

According to him, fundamental human rights are rights enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria and are sacrosanct.

“Where this right ought to be enforced, the court will do everything within its reach to ensure this.

“However, as fundamental and sacrosanct these rights are, they are not absolute,” he said.

Justice Omotosho, therefore, agreed that any member of a political party who appeared before a disciplinary committee, should be given the opportunity to defend himself.

“And if not, any decision taken shall be null and void,” he said. “This court is convinced that the applicant is entitled to a fair hearing and that the respondent also has the rights to discipline its members in accordance with the law.”

The judge further said that Wike had the right to associate and that the threat to dismiss him without inviting him to defend himself contravened Article 57 (1)(2) of the party.

He said that the party’s National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, and his agents, were bound to promote constitutional democracy.

Wike, in the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/139/2023 dated and field Feb. 2 ,2023 by his lawyer, Joshua Musa, SAN, had joined the National Chairman of PDP, Dr Iyorchia Ayu; National Secretary of PDP, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, and the Independent National Electoral Commission as 4th to 6th respondents respectively.

He had prayed for an order directing all parties to maintain the status quo and stay all actions in the matter relating to the threat to suspend or expel him by the 1st to 5th respondents pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion.

He asked the court to enforce his fundamental right to freedom of association which was allegedly about to be breached by the respondents.
But the PDP, through its lawyer, Johnson Usman, SAN, disagreed with Wike’s submission.

He argued that the case was only based on speculation as Wike had failed to provide any evidence to substantiate that the respondents intended to suspend or expel him from the party.

He said the party had not contemplated suspending or expelling members of the G5 Governors or the Integrity Group, despite engaging in anti-party activities.

He said Wike and four other governors engaged in anti-party activities by forming the Integrity Group and campaigning for another presidential candidate in the Feb. 25 election.

The senior lawyer argued that a member, who voluntarily joined an association, must abide by its rules.

Usman, who argued that the ex-governor must have exhausted the internal mechanism of the party first, said the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter, which, he said, was only within the realm of conjuncture.

He further argued that it was not enough for Wike to institute the suit on fundamental rights enforcement grounds.

Justice Omotosho had, on Feb. 2, given an interim order against the party and others listed in the face of Wike’s ex-parte motion.

The judge, who extended the restraining order on Feb. 14, held that all parties should maintain a status quo pending the hearing and determination of the suit

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Ill-health of Labour Party key staff stalls hearing of Obi,LP petition on Wednesday



The ill-health of key staff in the secretariat of the Labour Party (LP) on Wednesday stalled the hearing of the petition the party and its presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi lodged before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), challenging the declaration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
The five member panel of Justices of the court, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani had, on Tuesday fixed Wednesday for further hearings in their petition by 9 am and 2 pm for the hearing of the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, also challenging Tinubu’s election.

Obi and his party were expected to continue with the presentation of their case by calling more witnesses and tendering documents, for which the court allocated four hours to them.

When the petition was called on Wednesday morning, Counsel to Obi and the Labour Party, Awa Kalu (SAN) told the court that they had planned to start with tendering of documents, but are constrained by some challenges at their secretariat.

Kalu told the court that key staff of the petitioners took ill, making it impossible for them to proceed with the business of the day and prayed the court for an adjournment till Thursday.

Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), that of Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) for the APC did not object to Kalu’s request for adjournment.

Mahmoud however urged the court to record the day against the petitioners and deduct it from the number of days earlier allocated to them to present their case.

In his ruling, Justice Tsammani granted Kalu’s request for adjournment and adjourned till 9 am on Thursday.
The court will resume hearing in the petition filed by Atiku Abubakar and his party against Tinubu’s election latter in the day, by 2 pm.

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Atiku presents 118 exhibits in case against Tinubu



Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 elections, on Tuesday, May 30, presented a total of 118 exhibits before the five-member panel of the Presidential Election Petition Court in his case against President Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.Recall that Atiku and the PDP approached the tribunal to challenge the Independent National Electoral Commission’s declaration of Tinubu, who contested under the All Progressives Congress, as the winner of the February 25 election.The petitioners alleged that Tinubu “was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast at the election”. They also alleged that the president “was at the time of the election, not qualified to contest”. They further alleged inconsistencies in Tinubu’s age and school certificates.At the commencement of the hearing on Tuesday, Atiku tendered his first set of exhibits before the court through one of his lawyers, Eyitayo Jegede.Some of the exhibits tendered in the evidence included certified copies of the results of the presidential election from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.Other exhibits include printouts of data obtained from the bimodal voter accreditation system and records of the number of permanent voter cards used for the election across the 36 states and the FCT. All exhibits tendered were admitted as evidence.Respondents in the case reserved their objections to any of the documents, until their final written address. No witnesses were called by the petitioners during the hearing.All the respondents in the matter told the court that they would reserve their objections to any of the documents, till their final written address.

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