The Abuja-based Presidential Election Petition Court has announced plans to combine the three different petitions that seek to overturn the results of the 2023 presidential election.
The court claimed that it had the authority under Section 50 of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act to combine all the petitions and make a decision on them all at once.
The Independent National Electoral Commission’s lead attorney, Abubakar Mahmood, SAN, supported this decision by stating to 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.”
“My lords, my personal conviction is that the provision is mandatory,” Mahmood continued. It was explicitly stated that, unless the court orders otherwise, a petition to invalidate an election or return that is the subject of two or more petitions must be consolidated.
Chris Uche, SAN, the lead attorney for PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, has nevertheless asked for more time to consult with his client.
“My lords, we won’t claim to have not looked into it, but it might call for discussion with the other petitioners.
Since this is similar to a marriage, which is a union between two consenting adults, “we ask for a stand down or an adjournment so that we can explore the modalities,” Uche continued.
Similarly, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, the lead attorney for the president-elect, who appeared on behalf of Bola Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima, the vice president-elect, said he would need time to speak with him about the issue.
The case was then postponed until Monday so that all parties could report the results of their consultations on the question of the merger of all the petitions. Justice Haruna Tsammani presided over the five-member panel.