The Presidential Election Petition Court, sitting in Abuja, has disclosed its intention to consolidate the three different petitions that are seeking to nullify the outcome of the 2023 presidential election.
Consequently, the court, at its resumed proceedings on Saturday, said it was empowered by Paragraph 50 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, to merge all the petitions and determine them together.
However, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, who is the lead counsel for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, pleaded the court for time to consult his client.
“My lords, we will not say that we have not looked at it, but perhaps it may require consultation with the other petitioners.
“We, therefore, ask for a stand down or an adjournment so that we can explore the modalities since this is like a marriage which is a union between two consenting adults,” Uche, SAN, added.
On its part, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, threw its weight behind the planned consolidation of the petitions.
“My lords, my personal conviction is that the provision is mandatory. It clearly stated that if there are two petitions or more that are filed to nullify the same election or return, it must be consolidated, unless the court directs otherwise.
“We are happy with the provision of the law and we are also happy with whatever position your lordships will take with respect to this matter,” INEC’s lead counsel, Mr. Abubakar Mahmood, SAN, told the court.
However, Mr. Roland Otaru, SAN, who appeared on behalf of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, said he would need time to consult.