THE Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has adjourned hearing of the petition against President Bola Tinubu’s election, following a request by Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate Peter Obi’s legal team.
The five-man panel, led by Haruna Simon Tsammani, granted the adjournment during the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, May 31.
During the hearing, Awa Kalu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the counsel for the petitioner, informed the court that the original plan of Obi’s legal team was to present documents to the tribunal today.
However, according to him, the legal team experienced an unexpected setback due to the sudden illness of two key staff members at their secretariat.
As a result, Kalu stated, “We are constrained to pray for an adjournment till tomorrow (Thursday, June 1).
The legal representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Tinubu, and the All Progressive Congress (APC), namely Abubakar Mahmoud, Wole Olanikpekun, and Lateef Fagbemi, who are all SANs, did not contest the request for a postponement.
They acknowledged that the time wasted would be added to the petitioner’s allotted time since the request originated from the petitioner’s side.
Tsammani, in response to the plea, granted the prayer for an adjournment and scheduled the continuation of the hearing for Thursday, June 1.
Earlier reported that the tribunal, during its sitting on Tuesday, May 30, admitted a United States court judgment against Tinubu as evidence. The judgment, which included five exhibits presented by Obi’s counsels, alleged that Tinubu had been convicted of drug trafficking and fined $460,000.
In their petition, Obi and the LP argued that when Tinubu’s running mate, Kashim Shettima, became the vice presidential candidate, he was still nominated as the APC candidate for the Borno Central Senatorial election.
They also challenged Tinubu’s eligibility, alleging that he was previously indicted and fined $460,000.00 by a United States District Court for an offence involving dishonesty and drug trafficking.
Obi, who came third according to results announced by INEC, claimed that the election was invalid due to corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.
He argued that INEC breached its regulations and guidelines by not prescribing and deploying technological devices for voter accreditation, verification, continuation, and authentication as required.
The petitioner sought a declaration from the court that Tinubu was not qualified to contest the election and that all votes recorded for him were wasted.
He also requested the court to determine that he received a majority of lawful votes and satisfied constitutional requirements to be declared the winner.
In the alternative, he called for the cancellation of the election and the conduct of a fresh election in which Tinubu, Shettima, and the APC would not participate.