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PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: JONATHAN CONFRONTS BUHARI

By NBF News
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President Goodluck Jonathan will today confront former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Election Tribunal as he steps out to defend his mandate.

The president and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had earlier told the tribunal that the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), which filed the petition has no case against him.

When the tribunal resumes sitting today, it would also listen to the application by the petitioners for the inspection of vital electoral materials used for the presidential elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

During the inaugural sitting of the tribunal which is headed by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, the CPC kickstarted its petition on a shaky note when its application for inspection of electoral materials was not served on other parties in the appeal. It was on this basis that the application was withdrawn by the party and it was consequently struck out.

As a replacement, however, the CPC filed a new application, which largely contained the same prayers as the one that was withdrawn. Counsel to the party, James Ocholi (SAN) at the inaugural sitting of the tribunal had informed the court that he would like to withdraw the earlier application on technical ground and substitute it with a fresh one filed on May 16 adding that he was not aware of the directive of the court that the respondents should be put on notice.

Counsel to INEC, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) did not object to the application but filed a better and further application.

Counsel to President Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) leading a team of 25 lawyers, including nine Senior Advocates, did not also oppose the application but prayed the court to allow the petitioner to effect the service of the motion on the counsel. In a similar way, counsel to PDP, Joe Kyari Gadzama (SAN) did not also oppose the withdrawal of the petitioner's earlier application.

After hearing all parties in the appeal, the chairman of the panel, Justice Ayo Salami later struck out the application dated May 6, 2011 and therefore adjourned till May 23 to hear the fresh application filed on May 16. He further ordered that all respondents should be put on notice and that service should hence forth be through counsel to counsel to avoid cases of delay services. Other members of the panel are, Justices M.L Garba, M.A Owoade, I.I Agbube and Obande Ogbuinya.