Tinubu and APC Oppose Consolidation of Petitions Challenging 2023 Presidential Election
Tinubu and APC Firmly Against Consolidating Petitions Challenging 2023 Presidential Election
ABUJA – In a significant development, President-elect Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have expressed their opposition to the consolidation of three separate petitions seeking to nullify the outcome of the 2023 presidential election. The move to merge the petitions was put forth by the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), chaired by Justice Haruna Tsammani.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, represented by his legal team led by Chief Akin Olujinmi, SAN, argued that consolidating the petitions would hinder their ability to effectively address the multiple issues raised against Tinubu by the petitioners. Tinubu’s team emphasized that the petitioners had raised diverse concerns and were seeking different reliefs.
While acknowledging that Paragraph 50 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act empowered the court to consolidate petitions, Tinubu’s lawyer contended that the provision was not absolute. He argued that issues and evidentiary matters varied across the petitions due to the exchange of pleadings between the parties involved. Consequently, Tinubu’s legal team firmly opposed the consolidation and urged the court not to grant it.
Similarly, the APC, represented by Mr. Charles Edosomwam, SAN, asserted that merging the petitions would compromise the pursuit of justice. Edosomwam argued that the petitions presented different grounds and raised a wide range of issues. He expressed concern that consolidating the cases would make the trial convoluted and jeopardize crucial matters before the court. Additionally, Edosomwam stressed that effective defense of the case would be practically impossible. The APC firmly asserted that justice should not be sacrificed for the sake of convenience.
On the other hand, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) expressed neutrality on the consolidation proposal, leaving the decision to the discretion of the court.
The petitions challenging the outcome of the presidential election were filed by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who secured the second position in the election, and Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), who came third. Additionally, the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) also lodged a petition to contest the election results.
Originally, five petitions were filed against Tinubu’s victory; however, on May 8, the Action Alliance (AA) withdrew its case, followed by the Action Peoples Party (APP) discontinuing their proceedings on May 10.
The court announced that it would present its pre-hearing report on the petitions on Tuesday, indicating an imminent decision on the consolidation matter.