The Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, has upheld the position of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, on the consolidation of the three petitions challenging the qualifications and declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
In the pre-hearing session report presented on Tuesday by Justice Stephen Jonah Ada, the Court announced the consolidation of the three petitions instituted by Atiku, Peter Obi of the Labour Party LP, and the Allied People’s Movement APM.
The Court agreed with Atiku’s lawyers that given the time-bound nature of the petitions, especially for expeditious hearing purposes, it was proper and appropriate to merge them in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.
Justice Ada, while announcing the consolidation, said the Court took the decision because the three petitions are related to the same election and the same declaration of results.
Tinubu had vehemently opposed the consolidation move on the ground that the interests of justice would not be met.
But Atiku and the PDP, who saw the objection to consolidation as a ploy to delay quick disposal of the three petitions, had prayed the Court to adopt the move to be able to do substantial justice to their respective grievances against Tinubu’s election.
Meanwhile, the Court has given Atiku and the PDP three weeks within which to argue their complaints against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the alleged irregularities in the conduct of the presidential election.
They are also to, within the period, present their objections against the qualifications of Tinubu for the election and his subsequent return as the winner of the 2023 presidential poll.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani, has fixed May 30 for a full-blown hearing of the three petitions.