Thursday, November 21, 2019
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Tribunal dismisses PDM’s petition against Buhari

The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja yesterday dismissed the petition of Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), Pastor Aminchi Habu, challenging the conduct of the February 23 presidential election and declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the poll.

 

The dismissal was sequel to the withdrawal of the petition by the petitioner.

 

The party, which contended that its logo was not included in the ballot paper that was used for the presidential election, had, in the joint petition marked CA/PEPC/004/2019, prayed the tribunal to void President Buhari’s re-election and order a fresh poll.

 

The petitioners argued that the exclusion denied the party the opportunity to contest the election after it had spent a lot of money on campaigns.

 

The tribunal was set to commence hearing in the petition yesterday, when counsel to the petitioners, Aliyu Lemu, announced the decision of his clients to discontinue the case.

 

In two separate affidavits that were deposed to by both its presidential candidate, Habu, and National Secretary, Abubakar Gwada, the party said it decided to terminate hearing on the case for national interest.

 

“That we have found other alternative ways of seeking redress for the complaints alleged in our petition.

 

“That it will be best to withdraw our petition in the circumstance to decongest the docket of this Honourable Court and save precious judicial time and to prevent the respondents from any unnecessary expense of defending this petition.

 

“That at the time of filing this application, hearing has not commenced in this Petition.

 

“That withdrawing this petition is an extreme circumstance, otherwise this Honourable Court will be put to the task of hearing a petition which the petitioners no longer wish to pursue….”

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not oppose the application that was hinged on paragraphs 29 and 47 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended.

 

However, in its ruling, the Justice Muhammed Garba-led panel granted the petitioners leave to move the withdrawal application outside the pre-hearing period.

 

Accordingly, it dismissed the petition.

 

The tribunal had earlier rejected an application the National Chairman of the party, Chief Frank Igwebuike, and some members of the party filed to pull out from the petition against President Buhari.

 

The faction had applied for the name of the party to be removed from the petition, saying their presidential candidate was at liberty to pursue his case to its logical conclusion.

 

The party said it did not broker any deal with either President Buhari or the APC, to compromise the petition.

 

However, the application was dismissed by the tribunal, which held that some condition precedents that would have allowed it to entertain such application outside the pre-hearing period, was not met by the party.

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