The Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) has fixed today Monday 8th of May, 2023 for the hearing of the petitions challenging the declaration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) standard bearer, Senator Bola Tinubu, as the president-elect.
It was gathered that the expected legal battle by candidates disputing the outcome of the 2023 presidential poll will commence from May 8.
The National Legal Adviser of the APC, Ahmad El-Marzuq, who confirmed the date, said the APC legal team had been briefed and was ready to defend the party’s mandate.
“We have been briefed about the hearing coming up next week,” he said.
A member of Tinubu’s legal team, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), also said the hearing had been scheduled to commence next week.
Oyetibo said: “Yes, the hearing is on Monday, but it’s for a pre-hearing session. The hearing is to clarify if there are any applications before the main hearing will start. The timetable will be set for the hearing of the substantive matters.”
Findings also showed that the court stopped receiving replies from the petitioners on April 23.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, had on March 1 declared Tinubu the president-elect on the grounds that his party scored the majority of votes cast in the polls.
The former Lagos State governor had polled 8.8 million to defeat the Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 6.9 million; Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) who polled 6.1 million votes and 15 other candidates.
Dissatisfied with the result, Atiku and Obi have both disputed the results and filed separate petitions seeking orders to annul the election or declare them the winners of the polls.
Atiku urged the court to cancel the election and order a fresh election due to alleged irregularities that marred the February 25 polls in thousands of polling units.
In their 66-page petition, Atiku and his party, through his team of senior lawyers led by Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN), argued that as of March 1 when Tinubu was declared the winner of the election, the entire results and accreditation data from polling units had not been transmitted and uploaded by INEC.
On his part, Obi, in his petition, argued that the election was characterised by various irregularities, citing also the alleged non-qualification of Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, to contest the election.
He also alleged that Tinubu failed to win a majority of lawful votes and also one-quarter of lawful votes cast in the FCT.
He equally alleged that the election was conducted in substantial non-compliance with the provision of the law.
Tinubu and the APC have since responded to Atiku and Obi’s petitions.
Also, other political parties and their candidates are seeking the tribunal’s order to nullify Tinubu’s victory as the president-elect.