BY ANDREW OROLUA
While LP has joined PDP in demanding live broadcast of proceedings at the court, a unanimous agreement by the lead lawyers to parties involved in Peter Obi and Labour Party, LP, petition the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, on Wednesday adjourned proceeding of the pre -hearing session till next week Wednesday, May 17, 2023.
Presiding Justice of the panel , Justice Haruna Tsammani announced the sudden adjournment on Wednesday afternoon following an agreement reached by the lead counsel in the matter.
After listening to the submissions of the lead counsel, Justice Tsammani said “counsel have agreed that the matter be adjourned for one week.”
Justice Tsammani however, ordered the lead lawyers to draw out issues to be determined in petition by the court. He commended the senior lawyers for taken the initiative adding that “if we follow strictly the agreement the matter will be speedily heard and determined within the time allowed.”
The Presiding Justice also expressed hope that counsel in other petitions pending the PEPC would adopt and follow same initiative to eliminate time wasting .
Recall that Peter Obi and Labour Party’s petition was adjourned on Monday to Wednesday May 9, 2023 for continuation of the pre -hearing session.
But when the matter came up, the lead counsel for the petitioner, Livy Uzoukwu SAN, informed the panel that subject to overriding convenience of the court, the lead counsel on both sides, that is the petitioners and four respondents to the petition have met and agreed as follows.
“We have agreed that since there are numbers of processes and applications yet to be filed and served, the matter should be adjourned to Wednesday 17 of May, 2023, so that when we come back all the processes and applications must have being in for adoption.”
We also agreed that before the adjourned date we will meet again and take decisions on documents that will not be objected to and those to be opposed.
Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, lead counsel to the 1st respondent the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, lead counsel to Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima the 2nd and 3rd respondents respectively and Chief Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, lead counsel to All Progressives Congress, APC, all confirmed they met and agreed as stated by Nzoukwu SAN. Chief Fagbemi, SAN, added that they were unanimous that the procedure should be adopted.
Another petitioner, Action Peoples Party, withdraw its suit
ANDREW OROLUA, ABUJA.
The Action Peoples Party, APP on Wednesday May 10, 2023 withdrew its petition marked CA/PEPC / 04/23 challenging the election victory of Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as President – Elect.
Action Alliance, AA, had on Monday, May 8, 2023 the first day of the pre -hearing session, withdrew its petition. Just like Action Alliance , Action Peoples Party didn’t waste time identifying processes filed before withdrawing their petitions.
Counsel for APP, Obed Agu at the resumed sitting of the pre -hearing session by the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja on Wednesday informed the Court that he had filed a motion on notice on Tuesday, May 9, 2023 to withdraw the petition.
He said the application to withdraw the petition was brought in pursuant to paragraph 29 sub sections (1),(2),(3), (4) of the schedule of the prosecution of the petition , he had filed on March 19, 2023.”
The counsel, further stated that “the application is praying the Court to dismiss the petition or strike it out, having been withdrawn”
Continuing in his submission Agu said “the grounds upon which ,”and he couldn’t conclude before he was interrupted by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, counsel to the 1st respondent ( Ahmed Bola Tinubu) . Olanipekun said Agu needs not to go into details adducing reasons. My Lords you people are writing long hands and I think he should not labour my Lords”, he said.
The Presiding Justice , PJ, Justice Tsammani interjected and stopped Olanipekun SAN and directed Agu to continue his submission.
Agu abandoned his former line of thought and instead of adducing reasons for the withdrawal of the petition, said. “I adopt our affidavit and urge the Court to dismiss or strike out the petition.”
In his response, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN said “though we were served with the application late Tuesday evening, I am so happy.”
“We commend them and more will still come and we are not asking for cost”
The Presiding Justice asked him, “are you prophesying?
Olanipekun: “Hoping, my Lords.
Lateef Fagbemi , SAN, counsel to the 2nd respondent, All Progressives Congress, APC, said on their part, they had filed response this morning because they were served with the application late yesterday.
“We are not opposing the application withdrawing the petition . Let those who have not done so, do the needful. We commend them and we are not asking for cost,” he added.
Counsel to the 3rd respondent the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud SAN in his response, told the court they “received the application yesterday and have no objection to the petition being withdrawn and strike out.”
In a brief ruling, the Presiding Justice, Haruna Tsammani held that “the petition having been withdrawn and no objection from the respondents, is hereby dismissed.”
Petitioner lawyer Obed Agu told journalists after the session that he was instructed to file the petition and he was also instructed to withdraw it, adding that his clients exercise their rights.