Heightened concerns and anxiety have enveloped the country following the commencement of the hearing of the petitions challenging the results of the February 25 presidential election by the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja Monday.
Atiku, Obi and some other parties have rejected the results announced by INEC and had approached the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to reverse Tinubu’s victory.
Metrobusinessnews.com (MBN) learnt that the panel of judges is led by Justice Haruna Tsammani
The five-man panel of justices include Justice Stephen Adah, Justice Misitura Bolaji-Yusuf, Justice Boloukuoromo Moses Ugo and Justice Abbah Mohammed.
The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) is the court of first instance and has jurisdiction in presidential election-related petitions
In his opening remarks, Justice Tsammani assured that the panel will treat all Petitions justly and in a timely manner.
Tsammani urged parties before the court to refrain from making sensational comments that could cause unrest in the country.
He urged the lawyers not to engage in unnecessary technicalities as such could cause delays in the expeditious hearing of the petitions.
“Election is time bound, let us not waste unnecessary time, let us cooperate with each other so that everyone will leave here satisfied
But most Nigerians are expressing concerns that dragging the case for the mandatory 180-day duration might not augur well for the economy that is already being affected by the heightened tension in the polity.
The argument is that, since it’s the same constitution that stiputales the maximum duration for the tribunal to deliberate on the petition that equally mandates the tribunal to uphold justice and fairplay, the Justices should give meaning to justice by ensuring expeditious hearing.
According to Isaac Anukudu, Lawyer and policy analyst, it is not mandatory on the tribunal to exhaust the 180 days as well as the Supreme Court to stick to the 60 days duration.
Anumudu, who featured on the Channels Television’s Sunrise program on Monday said, “Nothing says the Tribunal cannot hear and dispose some of these issues within seven days. Judging from the mood of the nation and the fact that most activities as well as even investors and kidnappers are waiting for the outcome of the tribunal, I will request for judicial proactivism. The judges can dispose of cases like, qualification of Tinubu, 25 percent issue for FCT, alleged double nomination by APC vice president-elect and alleged $460,000 forfeiture by APC president-elect in United States of America. It is when all these fail that the Tribunal could go into areas of alleged results and voting manipulations that would require calling witnesses from all over the country. Sections 13 and 14 of the constitution requires proactive disposition to the cases, even as the swearing ceremony is about 21 days from now. Therefore, swearing in before the resolutions of the cases is unfair and against sections 13 and 14 of the constitution.”
Speaking further, he said, “the Justices should guage the temperature and the mood of the nation. Investors are waiting until the resolution of these cases before they can invest in our economy. Similarly, the kidnappers may have reduced their activities waiting for the direction of the country.”
However, the chairman of the PEPC said there were five petitions and the first three petitions would be heard on Monday while the last two would be heard on Tuesday.
Responding, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, said that as lawyers, they were bound by the law abiding and would adhere strictly to the rule of law throughout the proceedings.
Olanipekun gave the assurance that the lawyers would give their full support to the cause.
Other senior advocates also agreed with Olanipekun.