PDP, Atiku, lose bid to re-open arguments on APC’s objection

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday dismissed plea by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in Feb.23 general election, Atiku Abubakar to re-open arguments on All Progressives Congress (APC) application seeking the dismissal of their petition.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the duo had approached the tribunal challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the poll.

Giving ruling, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Mohammed Garba held that the petitioners failed to adduce cogent reasons why such request should be granted.

The tribunal had on June 11 ruled that the petitioners failed to file counter affidavit against APC’s motion seeking dismissal of the petition on accounts of unsubstantiated allegations of non-compliance and malpractices.

Garba said that the record of the court showed that the petitioners were duly served with APC’s motion on May 16, adding that they had seven days to file their counter-affidavit but failed to do so.

“The issue of denial of right to fair hearing is therefore baseless because they had earlier responded to the motion.

“The request to set aside the proceedings of June 11 as it relates to the APC’s motion of May 15 is baseless and cannot be granted.

“No cogent and verifiable reasons have been advanced while the petitioners failed to file their counter-affidavit challenging APC’s objection on the petition.

“The mistake or error and abandonment of the decision by the petitioners to file counter-affidavit is fatal and therefore, the discretion of the tribunal cannot be judicially and judiciously exercised in their favour,’’ the judge said.

The APC had urged the tribunal to strike out allegations of widespread malpractices made on the conduct of the presidential elections in 10 states from the petition.

The party alleged grave errors, adding that the petition was shrouded in unsubstantiated issues in the 10 states.

The party also claimed that Atiku merely made vague allegations of electoral malpractices in the 10 states, adding that vague allegations were unknown to law.

NAN reports the ten states to include Borno; Yobe; Niger; Katsina; Bauchi; Jigawa; Kaduna; Kano; Gombe as well as Kebbi.

APC, had in the motion invited the tribunal to strike out allegations of act of violence leveled against Vice President, Chief of Army Staff, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Police and several other individuals who were not listed as parties in the petition.

Meanwhile, Garba presented the pre-hearing report marking official closure of the pre-hearing section.

The tribunal therefore fixed July 4 for the commencement definite hearing on the petition.(NAN)

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