The Presidential Election Petition Court on Tuesday consolidated all the petitions against the outcome of the 2023 presidential election, and presented the trial schedule..
The consolidation was contained in a pre-hearing report read by the chairman of the five-man panel of the court, Justice Haruna Tsammani.
The court fixed May 30, 2023 for the commencement of the definite hearing of the petition. The tribunal, by law has 180 days – until September 16, to determine the petitions.
According to the court, Peter Obi and the Labour Party have three to present their case, against their proposed seven weeks, within which they planned to prove their case through 50 witnesses.
Justice Tsammani ordered Obi to open his petition for hearing on May 30 and end the same on June 23.
The court further stated that Obi’s camp would adopt its final briefs of argument on August 5, after which the court would prepare for judgement on his petition.
Similarly, the court, also fixed May 30 as day one in the hearing of the petitions by the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The PDP and Atiku are to adopt their final briefs on August 8, 2023.
The PDP and Atiku were granted them three weeks to present their which they planned to do via 100 witnesses.
The APM, also a petitioner, which has one witness, was directed to present its case within two days. The APM is to adopt its brief of argument on July 3, 2023,
On their part, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the All Progressives Congress, and Bola Ahmed Tinubu were assigned 5 days each to defend their case.
The panel stressed that examination and cross-examination in all cases will be strictly monitored and enforced without an intention to extend the dates.
Both Obi and Atiku disagreed with an out-of-court settlement agreement and subscribed to the hearing of the petition.
The PDP and Atiku have ten interlocutory applications with nine preliminary objections by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents, according to the pre-hearing report by the court.
Meanwhile, the Justice Tsammani-led panel indicated that it may subsequently disallow phones into the courtroom.
The court stressed that it is acting with reason, adding that the “security of everyone is important,” among other justifications.
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.