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President prays election tribunal to strike out Atiku, PDP petition


Presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party Atiku Abubakar

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) has been asked to strike out the petition filed by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for being “fundamentally defective.”President Muhammadu Buhari made the prayer through his lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), at the resumed sitting of the pre-hearing session of the petitions challenging his declaration as winner of the February 23, 2019 election.

The president, who filed two other applications, prayed the five-man panel to alternatively strike out 18 paragraphs of the petitioners’ response to the respondent’s reply to the main petition for being defective.He also prayed the court to amend his response to the petition to reflect Olanipekun’s address and email which the petitioners had claimed was an omission to cause mischief.

The lawyer to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Yunus Usman Ustaz (SAN), also in four separate applications, challenged the competence of the petition filed by Atiku and the PDP. Ustaz urged its striking out on account of the failure of the petitioners to join Buhari’s running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, as a party in the suit.

He further asked the tribunal to strike out the petition because it was the duty of INEC to defend electoral process, particularly where the petition fails to comply with paragraph 18 (1) of the first schedule of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended.

The All Progressives Congress’ (APC) counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), on his part, sought in two motions the striking out of the petition on the grounds that the preliminary objection was not responded to by the petitioners.The senior lawyer, who earlier withdrew his first application filed on May 14, 2019, informed the court that the petitioners only replied and filed counter-affidavit to the motion he had withdrawn. He therefore urged the tribunal to hold that his two other applications were unchallenged.

Lead counsel to Atiku and the PDP, Dr. Levy Uzuokwu (SAN), made oral application to amend the heading of his response to the APC’s application that was struck out as well as respond to the party’s fresh two motions.He equally urged the tribunal to strike out APC’s objection to his clients’ petition.

The lawyer also prayed the court to dismiss the three separate applications filed by Buhari for lacking in merit. The counsel equally pleaded with the tribunal to strike out all INEC’s objections.Having struck out the two applications filed by INEC and APC after being withdrawn by the respondents, Justice Garba reserved ruling on all applications.Meanwhile, the panel will tomorrow proceed with its pre-hearing session, entertaining applications from Atiku and the PDP.


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