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Presidential Election Tribunal Holds Inaugural Session

Source: THEWILL. - thewillnigeria.com
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ABUJA, May 17, (THEWILL) – Nigeria’s Presidential Election Tribunal Tuesday in Abuja held its inaugural session with Justices Mohammed Garba, M.A Owoade, I.I. Agbube and Obande Ogbuinya and the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayodele Salami, as head of the tribunal.

The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) whose candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari lost the Presidential election to the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan had approached the tribunal to cancel results of the election as announced by INEC in Kaduna, Sokoto, Nasarawa, Kwara, Adamawa, Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Enugu, Cross River, Rivers, Ebonyi, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo, Anambra, Benue, Lagos, Plateau States and the FCT.

At today’s short session, the CPC withdrew the exparte application it had earlier filed to review ballots and electoral materials on technical grounds. The party’s counsel, Mr. James Ocholi, SAN, substituted the application with another one filed on May 16, 2011, which also seeks the court’s approval to allow it inspect electoral materials.

Ocholi told the court that he was not aware of its order that all respondents must be served.

Counsel to the respondents in the matter, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN (INEC); Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, Dr. Alex Izinyon and 8 others who represented President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo did not object to the substitution, but said they needed time to study the new application. So also did Joe Kyari Gadzama, SAN, who stood in for the PDP.

The court subsequently struck out the initial application and admitted the new one before adjourning till May 23, 2011. Justice Salami also ordered that all respondents be put on notice and advised that service must be done through counsel to counsel to fast track the process.

The CPC has maintained that President Jonathan did not score the highest number of legal votes in the election and have sought to prove so in court.

The party is also accusing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of not conducting the April 16, 2011 Presidential election in compliance with the provisions of the 2010 Electoral Act.

The CPC added that it could prove that INEC used two different voter registers for the conduct of the Governorship and Presidential elections, which it said was skewed to favour the Presidential candidate of the PDP.

The party has asked the tribunal to declare that the April 16, 2011, Presidential election did not produce a clear winner and as such the tribunal should order the electoral body to conduct a re-run election between the candidates of the CPC and PDP.