Proceedings ended unexpectedly on Wednesday at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal due to the request by a lawyer to Atiku Abubakar and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chris Uche (SAN) for an adjournment to enable his clients react to the responses filed against a fresh motion by Atiku and the PDP.
Atiku and his party are challenging the outcome of the last presidential election at the tribunal. Although they came second behind President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), they claimed to have won based on some results they gleaned from a central server purportedly utilised by the electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to transmit the result of the election.
The election tribunal in a ruling on June 24, declined the petitioners’ request to be allowed access to the supposed server, which existence INEC has denied. The tribunal adjourned till June 26 for further pre-hearing session.
At the resumption of proceedings yesterday, the petitioners were expected to pursue their petition, but their lawyer took all by surprise when he prayed the tribunal for an adjournment to enable them file replies-on-point-of-law to the respondents’ replies to the petitioners’fresh motion seeking to quash the proceedings conducted on June 11 by the tribunal.
But Uche urged the tribunal to conduct other pre-hearings related to the petition rather than wasting the day, a request respondents’ lawyers objected to.
Usman, Ali and Fagbemi said they could only concede should the petitioners withdraw their fresh motion or reply orally, a suggestion Uche rejected and insisted on filing replies to the respondents’ responses.
Ruling, PEPT’s Chairman, Justice Mohammed Garba said the tribunal would prefer to conclude the hearing of all pending applications/motions before delving into other issues related to the petition.
Justice Garba adjourned till July 1 for the hearing of the fresh motion by the petitioners and the consideration of any other pre-hearing issues.