…Petitions will thin out one by one says Keyamo
The Mohammed Garba –led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) on Monday withdrew their joint petition filed by Coalition for Change (C4C), one of the parties in the ongoing suit against the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 presidential election.
Blueprint reports that an application for withdrawal of the petition was filed by the petitioners on June 10.
At the resumed session on Monday, the counsel to President Buhari and the All Progressive Congress (APC), Wole Olanipekun and Lateef Fagbemi, both told the court that their clients were yet to be served with a copy of the petition.
Olanipekun argued that despite the fact that the panel had granted an application for substituted service at the last adjourned date, the petitioners were yet to serve the processes on the first respondent.
But the counsel representing C4C, Obed Agu countered, saying that an application for the withdrawal of the Coalition For Change, C4C and its presidential candidate, Geff Chizee Ojinkapetition against the election of Buhari was filed on Monday in court but was yet to be served on the respondents.
The petitioners who had earlier asked the tribunal to nullify re-seeking the February 23 presidential poll on the premise that its party logo was not included in the ballot papers told newsmen after the session that the decision to withdraw was sequel to an instruction which emanated from the first petitioners political party after its NEC meeting.
He said, “I have their instruction to withdraw the petition, supposedly that was after a NEC meeting was held by the first petitionist.
“According to our decision and resolution, after the NEC meeting, kindly withdraw the petition against the president and that was exactly what we did today,” he added.
Consequently, the All Progressives Congress got a momentary relief when the five-member panel led by Mohammed Garba, who replaced Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa on the panel went ahead to grant the application and dismissed the suit, as there was no objection to the application by other parties in the suit.
It would be recalled that the Court of Appeal President, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa had recused herself from participating in adjudicating petitions challenging the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari on May 22, after the tribunal had delivered ruling against an application challenging her membership. The Tribunal has since adjourned till Tuesday to hear six pending applications that were filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in relation to the petition challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election.
Meanwhile, while reacting on the development after the court session, one of APC’s legal team, Festus Keyamo liken the withdrawal to seeing the light and embracing the truth, saying the party must have seen that the president won fair and square and that their petition are going nowhere.
“We expect the other petitioners to also see the light and embrace the truth. So, we thank them. And I tell you, gradually these petitions will thin out one by one,” he said.
As it were, there are presently three petitions against the re-election of Buhari before the panel of the Presidential Election and Petition Tribunal.
They include the one filed by the People Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar marked CA/PEPC/002/2019.
Also the one filed by Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and its National Chairman and presidential candidate, Chief Ambrose Owuru. and the one instituted by the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) and its presidential candidate, Pastor Aminchi Habu, marked CA/PEPC/004/2019.
The petitioners had claimed the presidential election was marred by widespread malpractices, thereby failing to comply with statutory provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act.