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*Sets modalities for proceedings
*To hear APM, PDP tomorrow
*Justice Haruna Tsammani leads four others
Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has officially kick-started hearing in petitions against the February 25 presidential election.
The five member panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, upon convening announced the modalities of the proceedings.
Other members of the panel are Justices Stephen Adah, Monsurat Bolaji-Yusuf, Boloukuromo Ugo and Abba Mohammed.
In a welcome remark, Justice Tsammani informed the court that there were five petitions currently before them which include that of the Action Alliance (AA), Action People’s Party (APP), Labour Party (LP), Allied People’s Movement (APM) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
He however stated that for convenience, the court will take the first three petitions today (Monday), and adjourned to Wednesday, while the fourth and fifth petitions which involved that of APM and PDP would be taken Tuesday and then would be adjourned to Thursday.
While soliciting understanding and cooperation of the bar, the Presiding Justice assured that the bench would be fair to all, adding that the bench is not unmindful of the importance of the cases before it.
Justice Tsammani specifically urged the bar to avoid unnecessary time wasting through unnecessary objections, adding that as lawyers they should avoid making inflammatory statement owing to the importance of the cases before the court.
Responding, lawyers representing parties assured the court of their willingness and preparedness to make the job of the panel less cumbersome.
Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, who spoke first assured that the lawyers were ready to cooperate with the court to ensure justice is delivered at the end of the day.
Chief Chris Uche, SAN, on his part stated that the bar would do everything to ensure speedy disposal of the cases owing to the enormous responsibility upon their shoulders.
Similarly, Dr Levi Ozoukwu, SAN, counsel of the Labour Party and Mr Peter Obi, stated that “the bar was mindful of the public interest being generated by the case, which outcome he said would greatly impact on Nigeria’s jurisprudence as well as the Constitution”.
“We will do whatever is possible to assist the court do justice in the matters”, he added.
Similarly, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), represented by Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, noted that the bar recognizes the importance of the matter and “we pledge total support so that justice will be done at the end of the day.
Meanwhile, candidate of the LP party, Mr Peter Obi was in court to witness the day’s proceedings. He was accompanied by some party officials including suspended National Chairman, Julius Abure, former APGA chairman and Senator-elect on the platform of the Labour Party, Chief Victor Umeh.
Also present at the inaugural session is the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, amongst other dignitaries.