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National Tribune

Flagging The Conscience Of Truth

APC and Tinubu Stand Against Efforts to Consolidate Petitions by Atiku and Obi

ByWeb Manager

May 23, 2023

A move by the Presidential Election Petition Court {PEPC} to consolidate the three petitions against the outcome of the February 25 presidential election has been opposed by the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the ruling All Progressives Congress {APC}.

Tinubu and the APC made their opposition to the move known on Monday at the resumed sitting of the court.

Tinubu, through his team of lawyers led by Chief Akin Olujinmi {SAN}, noted that merging all the petitions would adversely affect his ability to effectively defend all the issues that were raised against him by the petitioners.

“My lords, the issue of justice should be a restraint on the power of this court to exercise its discretion in granting the order for consolidation,” Tinubu pleaded through his lawyer, pointing out that the petitioners did not only raise various issues against him, but equally seeking different reliefs.

The Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja, had disclosed its intention to consolidate all the petitions, adding that it was empowered by Paragraph 50 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act to merge all the petitions and determine them together.

The court, thereafter gave counsel for all the petitioners the permission to consult their clients and report back to it with the outcome of the meeting.

However, at the resumed proceedings on Monday, Tinubu’s lawyer argued that the provision of the Electoral Act the court referred to was not absolute.

“My lords, when the exercise of power is subject to limitation of some conditions, then it cannot be said that the exercise is mandatory.

“There are issues raised in one petition that are not there in others. The issues vary. The same goes for evidential issues that are based on pleadings that have been exchanged by parties in this case.

“We want to make it clear at this stage that it will be absolutely difficult for us to consent to consolidation of the petitions.

“I most humbly urge your lordships not to grant the consolidation,” Tinubu’s lawyer added.

Also in his submission, counsel for the APC, Mr. Charles Edosomwam {SAN} argued that consolidating the petitions would be against the interest of justice.

“The justice factor is a major issue for consideration before your lordships can arrive at a just conclusion of these matters.

“The grounds are different and the wide range of issues raised by parties are also different.

“The trial will be unwinding and major issues before this court would be lost like a pin in a haystack.

“Moreover, it will be pragmatically impossible for the respondent to effectively defend the case.

“It is our position that the issue of justice cannot be sacrificed at the altar of convenience,” the APC added.

The Independent National Electoral Commission {INEC} on its part, said though it was not opposed to the proposed consolidation of the petition, it would leave the issue to the court’s discretion.

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