The legal battle to overturn the election victory of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, commenced on Monday with the Presidential Election Petitions Court promising to deliver justice ‘’for those deserving it.’’
The long-awaited pre-hearing proceeding, which was held at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, was presided over by Justice Haruna Tsammani, who gave the assurance that justice would be served dispassionately.
Other members of the five-man panel include Justice Stephen Adah of the Court of Appeal, Asaba Division, Justice Misitura Bolaji-Yusuf, Court of Appeal also of Asaba Division, Justice Boloukuoromo Ugoh of Kano Division and Justice Abba Mohammed of Ibadan Division of the Court of Appeal.
Addressing the petitioners and lawyers in the jam-packed courtroom, Tsammani, who is the Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal, stated, “We are determined to look at the matter dispassionately and give justice to whoever deserves justice.”
He said they would consider the substance of each case over technicalities so that “whoever leaves here will be satisfied that justice has been done.”
He also warned the parties against unnecessary applications that could delay the proceedings.
Tribunal advises lawyers
The jurist stated, “Election matters are time-bound, let us not waste unnecessary time, let us cooperate with each other so that everyone will leave here satisfied.
“Avoid unnecessary technicalities; we are determined to look at all the matters brought before us. Let us look at what is good for our country and avoid time-wasting applications.”
The justice further sought the cooperation of lawyers, saying “Let us avoid making sensational comments or statements.”
Responding to the appeal by the court, the lead counsel to the president-elect, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, said the lawyers were ready to cooperate with the court.
“We are not unmindful of our responsibilities as members of the bar. I want to assure your Lordships of our unflinching support. Whatever the court wants to do to accelerate the matters, we are ready to give the court our support,’’ he pledged.
Similarly, the counsel to the Labour Party, Levy Uzoukwu, SAN, and Chris Uche, SAN, for the Peoples Democratic Party, pledged their support to the court.
Five political parties and their candidates are challenging the outcome of the February 25 presidential election on the grounds of non-compliance with the electoral laws as well as the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission.