CPC'S Petition Not Precise, Goodluck Tells Tribunal

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The directive given to parties in the Presidential Election Tribunal by presiding Justice Ayo Isa Salami to harmonise their positions over 8 pending applications with a view to clearing the way for the hearing of the main petition did not avail much as the parties were unable to agree on all the issues contained in the pending applications.

 

However, some of the issues were resolved leading to the withdrawal of some of the applications while the others where no agreement was reached were slated for hearing.

 

After apportioning of blames as to who foiled efforts to resolve the pending issues between the petitioner and the respondents, the application filed by counsel to President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo, Chief Wole Olanipekun, was cleared for hearing by the tribunal.

 

The president’s lawyer informed the tribunal that their application was brought pursuant to paragraph 5, 70 and 54 of the 1ST Schedule to the Electoral Act 2010 as amended and Order 13, Rules 5 and 7 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rule 2009.

 

The application seeks for an order of the court directing the petitioner, Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, to furnish them with more particulars of some itemised paragraphs in their petition.

 

The senior advocate of Nigeria averred that the petition filed by the CPC is generic and omnibus in nature and that there is need for the party to supply them better particulars needed to aid the expeditious hearing of the petition as the issues will then become very narrow.

 

Chief Olanipekun relied on an election Petition tribunal decision in 2008 between Abubakar Atiku vs Umaru Musa Yar’Adua where the tribunal granted such order in favour of the late former president.

 

He pointed out that Abubakar appealed the decision of the Supreme Court but lost at the apex court as the court held that the request for better and further particulars is for clarity and precise, to put respondents on notice as to what to expect at trial so as to limit the exercise on the narrow point of issues.

 

He specifically told the court that he does not understand what the petitioners are claiming.

 

He further told the court that the CPC complained of denial of access to election materials and wondered what this has to do with his clients who are not members of the electoral body, more so when the court had directed INEC to allow them access to the electoral materials.

 

INEC and PDP represented by Chief Onyechi Ikpeazu and Joe Kyari Gadzama, both senior advocates, respectively aligned themselves with the submissions of Olanipekun in urging the court to grant the application.

 

The counsel for the petitioner, Mr. Ebun Shofunde, a senior advocate of Nigeria opposed the application made by Chief Olanipekun and stated that it amounts to asking for evidence which the petitioner cannot give out at this time of the proceedings.

 

He accused the respondents of fishing and begging for evidence.

 

Furthermore, Mr. Shofunde told the court that the case of Abubakar vs Yar’Adua cited by Olanipekun does not remove the court’s discretion to decide whether or not to grant the application and urged the court to refuse the application.

 

Presiding Justice Salami subsequently adjourned ruling on the application to a date to be communicated to the parties.
By NnamdiI Felix / Abuja

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