On Wednesday, the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) opened and concluded its case in the petition it filed contesting the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, representing the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the victor of the presidential election held on February 25.
The party in the petition numbered CA/PEPC/04/2023 seeks the nullification of Tinubu’s election on the ground of the double nomination of the vice presidential candidate of the APC, Kashim Shettima.
At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, after a futile attempt by President Tinubu and the APC to shut out the petition, the petitioner called its lone witness, Aisha Abubakar, who gave evidence in aid of the petition.
Led in evidence by the lead counsel to the APM, Gideon Idiagbonya, the witness identified and tendered the five witness statements on oath she deposed to at the registry of the court.
The witness, who is the Assistant Welfare Officer of the APM, also tendered her membership card as evidence in the matter.
Other documents tendered by the petitioner and admitted as exhibits by the court are the declaration of results sheet (Form EC8E), a notice of withdrawal of Kabiru Masari as vice presidential candidate of APC, and Kashim Shettima’s notice of withdrawal as Borno Central senatorial candidate of APC (Form EC11C).
Also tendered are the letter of voluntary withdrawal written to APC by Shettima as senatorial candidate of APC for Borno Central senatorial district, an affidavit in support of personal particulars for nominations of Shettima as the vice presidential candidate of APC (Form EC9), an affidavit of personal particulars for nominations of Ibrahim Kabiru Masari as Vice Presidential candidate of APC (Form EC9), and an affidavit in support of personal particulars for nominations of Lawal Kaka Shehu as Borno Central Senatorial candidate of APC.
Following a subpoena, INEC, through its Deputy Director, Legal Drafting, Joan Molle Arabs, produced two documents, Certified True Copies of an online temporary acknowledgement of Kashim Shettima’s profile of Thursday, July 14, 2022, and an online temporary acknowledgement of Lawal Kaka Shehu’s profile of Friday, July 15, 2022, which were tendered and admitted as exhibits by the court.
At the end of the cross-examination of the witness by INEC, APC, Tinubu, Kashim Shettima, and Kabiru Masari, who are respondents in the petition, counsel to the petitioner announced the closure of the case.
The respondents, through their counsel, did not call evidence in the petition but relied on the May 26, 2023, judgement of the Supreme Court and a letter notifying INEC of the withdrawal of Shettima as a senatorial candidate of the APC for Borno Central senatorial district tendered by counsel to INEC, Dr Kemi Pinhero (SAN).
The Supreme Court judgement, which was tendered in evidence by counsel to the APC, Lateef Fagbemi, dismissed a suit by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Tinubu’s eligibility to contest the February 25 presidential election on the ground of the double nomination of his running mate for lacking merit.
The petitioner raised objections to the admissibility of the said judgement, but the court admitted it as evidence, and after the conclusion of the cross-examination of the witness, the court gave the petitioner 10 days within which to file and serve its final written address and gave the respondents seven days to file and serve their final written addresses in the petition.
The court then fixed July 14, 2023, for the adoption of the final written addresses of the parties in the petition.
Meanwhile, the court could not hear the petition filed by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging Tinubu’s election because the 10 am scheduled for the petition was encroached upon by the APM petition, which was the first matter called on Wednesday.
Consequently, the five-member panel of justices of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) headed by Justice Haruna Tsammani adjourned further hearings of Atiku Abubakar and PDP’s petition until July 22.