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Atiku’s Petition Adjourned To May 18 As INEC, Tinubu Yet To State Position On Live Coverage Of Court Sittings

The Presidential Election Petitions Court has adjourned to May 18 for continuation of the pre-hearing session of the People’s Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar’s case against the Independent National Electoral Commission, President-elect Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Atiku wants the court to nullify the election victory of Tinubu on the grounds that he did not garner majority of lawful votes cast in 2/3 of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

At the pre-hearing session, Atiku’s legal team had urged the court to urgently allow live broadcast of proceedings.

Lawyers representing the INEC, Tinubu and APC — Mahmoud A.B. SAN, Wole Olanipekun SAN and Lateef Fagbemi SAN — had said they would respond in due course.

But at the resumed sitting on Thursday, PDP counsel, Chris Uche SAN told the court that to make for a seamless progression of the pre-hearing session, counsels for the respective parties have met and put heads together to harmonise and to streamline the vital areas and components of the pre-hearing conference.

“My lord, the first item resolved by the various counsels, is documents and we agreed and all set up a team together to look at the documents and agreed on these documents in order to eliminate objections while tendering from the bar and during the hearing.

“We intend to do that between Monday and Tuesday and then prepare a schedule of documents to facilitate hearing.

“The second is, the issues for trial, for the petitioners we have filed ours on May 11 and served all the parties subject to any modifications by the honourable court,” Uche said.

He further reminded the court that with respect to motions, he was yet to get responses to his processes seeking televising of court proceedings

“Altogether, we have been served with four applications, two from INEC and two from the APC; we have reacted to the first one by INEC and we are preparing our responses to the other ones since we’re just served not too long

“Finally, we have agreed and propose Thursday (May 18), to file responses to all application,” Uche added.

On his part, INEC’s lawyer, Mahmoud SAN, said the electoral umpire and parties have already constituted a team for that purpose.

“We also received application seeking live coverage, I will be filing the response of INEC before the end of today.

“I also confirmed that all applications be moved on Thursday,” Mahmoud replied.

He also said his motion filed on April 19, seeking an order of the court to strike out certain paragraphs of the PDP’s pleadings should be determined as well.

Tinubu’s lawyer, Olanipekun confirmed the submission of the petitioners.

“On behalf of my client, we filed our issues for determination.

“We have also assured the petitioners that between now and Monday, we will serve them our applications,” he said.

Regarding the application for live broadcast of the proceedings, he promised to respond latest Monday, adding “we were served late Tuesday.”

The APC also confirmed the agreement saying it had also filed its issues for determination on May 10.

Responding to all parties, the five-man panel of the court chaired by Justice Haruna Tsammani adjourned to May 18 for further pre-hearing.

“We urge counsels to keep to the content of the agreement for speedy conclusion of the pre-hearing session.

“We hope that you will continue with such cooperation till the conclusion of this petition,” the judge held.

First Bank

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