BUHARI VS JONATHAN: TRIBUNAL SET THE STAGE FOR PRE-TRIAL
The Presidential Election Tribunal yesterday set the stage for a pre-trial in the petition filed by Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) seeking to nullify the election of President Goodluck Jonathan on the grounds of substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010.
Specifically, the court has directed the issuance of Forms TF 0007 (Pre- Hearing Notice) and TF 008 (Pre- Hearing Information) on counsel to both parties in the appeal.
The documents contained relevant questions necessary to fast-track the determination of the appeal.
For instance, they are questions relating to the number of witnesses to be called by both parties, relevant documents and exhibits to be used or tendered and other important questions that would be needed for the quick dispensation of the appeal.
The decision of the court was at the instance of the CPC whose counsel; Abubakar Malami who was with Ismaila Alasa and others, moved an oral application for the forms to be formally issued to counsel in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act. Although, counsel already had copies of the forms, the CPC said it did not want to take chances since it was issued without the order of the court.
The legal team to President Jonathan and his Deputy, Namadi Sambo, Chief Wole Olanikpekun, Dr. Alex Izinyon [SAN], Damien Dodo [SAN] Dabian Ajogwu, Ighodalo Imadegbelo, Chief Assam Assam, O.A. Omonuwa, Jude Nnodum and Paul Erokoro had raised objections to the application as being unnecessary. Specifically, Olanikpekun had told the court that the application had been overtaken by event initiated by the petitioner.
The tribunal presided over by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami granted the application and directed the requisite forms be served on the parties through their respective counsel. No date has been fixed for the pre- hearing proceedings.