Tribunal: Bola Tinubu, APC oppose move to merge petitions
On Monday, the All Progressives Congress and its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, rejected the proposal to consolidate the three surviving petitions being heard by the Presidential Election Petition Court challenging the results of the February 25 presidential election.
Earlier on Saturday, the panel’s chairman, Justice Haruna Tsammani, directed the petition’s solicitors to consult paragraph 50 of the 1st Schedule of the Electoral Act regarding the possibility of consolidating the three remaining petitions into a single one.
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It instructed the counsels to consult with their clients and report back on the meeting’s outcome.
Counsel for the APC, Charles Edosomwam, SAN, stated at the resumption of the hearing that consolidating the petitions would be against the interests of justice.
He stated that the justice factor is a major consideration, adding that “the grounds are different, as are the diverse issues raised by the parties.”
If the consolidation is considered, he said, “major issues before this court will be lost in the shuffle.”
“Additionally, it will be practically impossible for the defendant to successfully defend the case.
“From our perspective, the issue of justice cannot be sacrificed on the altar of expediency.”
In a similar vein, Tinubu’s legal team, led by Akin Olujinmi SAN, asserted that consolidating all the petitions would have a significant impact on his ability to defend himself against all the allegations made against him.
He asserted that the petitioners seek dissimilar relief.
Olujinmi stated, “The issue of justice should limit the court’s ability to exercise its discretion in granting the consolidation order.”
He argued that the court’s cited provision of the Electoral Act was not absolute.
“My lords, when the exercise of power is subject to the limitation of some conditions, then it cannot be said that the exercise is mandatory.”
“Some petitions raise concerns that others do not. The concerns vary. The same holds true for evidentiary issues based on pleadings exchanged by the parties in this case.”
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