Naija News has obtained the summary of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which commenced hearing earlier today in the petitions filed by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, his party and three other political parties challenging the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the 2019 presidential poll.
The Tribunal urged parties to shun actions that may put the panel in a negative light.
Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, the Chairman of the five-member panel, who made the appeal, at the special sitting of the panel, specifically warned counsel and parties in the various petitions to avoid discussing daily proceedings of the tribunal in the media and other public space.
The Tribual Chairman warned that the tribunal would not hesitate to wield the big stick against anyone found culpable in that regard, adding that the task of the tribunal is a serious national assignment and must be seen as such by all.
Bulkachuwa noted that no matter how an election was conducted, there are bound to be complaints, hence the establishment of the tribunal to give speedy hearing on such complaints.
The presiding judge revealed that there are currently 786 petitions against the outcome of the 2019 general election, with Imo State having the highest number of 76 and 6 tribunals.
She assured the parties and Nigerians that the panel would be fair to all and would give equal time to all litigants, in its efforts at ensuring that justice is done and done expeditiously in all the cases before it.
Responding, counsels in the matters pledged to play by the rules and give maximum cooperation to the panel.
Naija News understands that Levi Ozoukwu (SAN) is leading the legal team of Abubakar and the PDP, while Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) are leading that of Buhari and APC respectively.
Justices Abdul Aboki, Samuel Osiji, Joseph Ikyegh and Peter Olabisi-Igeh are Other members of the presidential panel.
At the resumption of hearing today, the tribunal stated that the Proceedings would be on a daily basis after which it called the first case, the petition of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and his Presidential candidate, Chief Albert Owuru.
After the identification and regularization of processes filed in the HDP petition, the presiding judge fixed May 14 for pre-hearing of the petition.
On the other hand, Justice Bulkachuwa adjourned the matter in the case involving Abubakar and PDP against INEC, Buhari and APC, to May 15.
But in the case of the petition of Coalition for Change (C4C) and Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), the tribunal declined to give a definite date for the hearing.
The tribunal cited the inability of the two petitioners to serve processes on Buhari and other respondents as its reason.
Similarly, the tribunal declined to hear an exparte application filed by the C4C, praying for substituted service on President Buhari and his Vice, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, following flaws in the motion.
The tribunal among others found that the exparte application filed by Obed Agu, was not competent in law because it was not signed, and the seal of the counsel was not fixed as required by law. Adding that there was no affidavit in support of the motion.
On seeing the rejection, the counsel withdrew the application and told the tribunal that a fresh case would be filed in its place.