The Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja made a significant decision on Tuesday by consolidating three separate petitions that aimed to nullify the outcome of the 2023 presidential election. Led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, a five-member panel of the court unanimously dismissed objections raised by President-elect Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) against the merger of the petitions.
The court emphasized that the nature of the cases warranted their consolidation and treatment as a single petition since they all pertained to the same election. As a result, May 30 was set as the date for the commencement of the case presented by Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), against the outcome of the presidential election held on February 25.
Although Obi initially stated that he would require seven weeks to present his case with 50 witnesses, the court, in its ruling, reduced the allotted time to three weeks. Additionally, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Tinubu, and the Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, were each granted five days to defend the petition. The court also gave the fourth respondent, Kabiru Masari, three days to present his defense.
The court emphasized that the parties involved would submit their final briefs of argument on August 5, after which a date for the judgment would be determined.
Apart from Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who came second in the election, and Peter Obi of the LP, who came third, the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) also filed a petition challenging the outcome of the presidential election.
Initially, five petitions were filed to contest Tinubu’s victory in the election. However, the Action Alliance (AA) withdrew its case on May 8, followed by the Action Peoples Party (APP) discontinuing its proceedings two days later.
Furthermore, the panel, led by Justice Tsammani, hinted at the possibility of banning both lawyers and members of the public from bringing mobile phones into the courtroom on the next adjourned date.