THE Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), also referred to as presidential election tribunal, officially commenced hearing today, Monday, May 8.
The tribunal will hear petitions against the result declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against after the February 25 presidential election.
Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani will lead the panel of Justices. Others on the panel are Justice Moses Ugo, Justice Bolaji-Yusuf, Justice Stephen Adah and Justice Abbah Mohammed.
The Tribunal will look at petitions from the Action Alliance (AA), Action Peoples Party (APP), Labour Party (LP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In his inaugural speech, Justice Tsammani assured parties that justice will be done.
He urged counsels to cooperate with the Tribunal to ensure that the petitions are decided speedily.
“I want to appeal to everyone in this matter not to make sensational comments that could set the country on fire.
“We, on our part, too, will ensure that justice is given to the one who deserves it,” he said.
Justice Tsammani stated that the court would hear the first three petitions today (Monday) and adjourn to Wednesday, May 10.
The fourth and fifth petitions filed by the APM and PDP will be heard on Tuesday, May 9, before the tribunal adjourns to Thursday, May 11.
He requested the Bar’s assistance in being fair to everyone and added that the Bench was aware of the significance of the matters it was considering.
Justice Tsammani urged attorneys for the various petitioners to refrain from frivolous objections to save time. He also admonished them against inciting controversy.
In their separate responses, lawyers for the parties reassured the court of their readiness and willingness to make the panel’s task more manageable.
INEC had, on Wednesday, March 1, declared the candidate of APC, Bola Tinubu, winner of the presidential election.
INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu announced that Tinubu won with 8,794,726 votes, followed by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with 6,984,520 votes. Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) followed closely with 6,101,533 votes, according to the result released by INEC.
The man, Justice Tsammani
Born on November 23, 1959, Justice Tsammani hails from Tafawa Balewa LGA of Bauchi State.
He obtained his LL.B degree from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1982, and attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos for his BL in 1983.
Justice Tsammani was appointed a Judge of the High Court of Bauchi State on September 27, 1998 and later elevated to the Court of Appeal on July 16, 2010.
He served as the chairman of the three-man panel that granted Obi and Atiku’s motions to serve Tinubu their petitions by substituted means.
He also presided on the VAT case between the Rivers State government and the Federal Government.
Justice Tsammani prepared the judgment in Ajimobi v Balogun, affirming the election of Kola Balogun as Senator representing Oyo South Senatorial District in 2019.
He is ranked 12th on the Seniority list of the Court of Appeal.