The Presidential Election Petition Court, sitting in Abuja, has disclosed plans to merge the three separate petitions seeking to nullify the outcome of the 2023 presidential election.
The court said it was empowered by paragraph 50 of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act to merge all the petitions and decide them together.
This decision was supported by the lead counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission, Abubakar Mahmood, SAN, who told the court, “We are happy with the provision of the law and we are also happy with whatever position your lordships will take with respect to this matter.”
Mahmood added, “My lords, my personal conviction is that the provision is mandatory. It clearly stated that if there are two petitions or more that are filed to nullify the same election or return, it must be consolidated, unless the court directs otherwise.
However, the lead counsel to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, Chris Uche, SAN requested more time to consult his client.
“My lords, we will not say that we have not looked at it, but perhaps it may require consultation with the other petitioners.
“We, therefore, ask for a stand down or an adjournment so that we can explore the modalities since this is like a marriage which is a union between two consenting adults,” Uche, added.
Similarly, a counsel who appeared on behalf of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu and the Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, Roland Otaru, SAN, said he would also need time to consult with the lead counsel for the president-elect, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, on the matter.
Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel then adjourned the case until Monday for all the parties to report the outcome of their consultations on the issue of the merger of all the petitions.