By Deborah Onyofufeke
The Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, has ordered the Labour Party and it’s presidential candidate, Mr Peter Gregory Obi, to present their joint petition against the February 25 presidential election within 3 weeks.
The court also fixed May 30 for Peter Obi, to open his case against the declaration of the presidential elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The court also ordered Tinubu, who is the respondent to all the petitions, his vice – President Elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, alongside the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, 5 days each to defend the victory at the election.
The five member panel of the court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, issued the order at the continuation of the pre-hearing sessions report of the court.
Obi through his counsel, Professor Awa Kalu SAN had requested for seven weeks to present his case as he told the court he would be presenting 50 witnesses to prove his allegations against the 2023 pollsthat produced Tinubu.
The court however, reduced the period to three weeks. Justice Tsammani ordered that Obi must open his petition for hearing on May 30 and end same on June 23.
Meanwhile, the Court held that it arrived at the decision because of the limited time within which the petition must be disposed off.
Also, the five member panel in a unanimous decision dismissed both Tinubu and APC’s Objection against the consolidation as justice Tsammani stated that the court has decided to consolidate the three different petitions that are seeking to nullify the outcome of the 2023 presidential election.
Justice Tsammani said the petitions are going to be dealt with as one petition since they all relate to the same election.
The court also gave the 4th respondent in the case, Kabiru Masari, three days to also defend himself.
The court stressed that the parties would adopt final briefs of argument on August 5 to enable it to fix a date for judgement.