Bola Tinubu, Nigeria’s president-elect, has opposed the move to harmonise three pending petitions challenging his victory at the tribunal.
Gatekeepers News reports that Tinubu, the standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was declared the February 25 presidential poll winner with 8,794,726 votes.
Aggrieved by the outcome, the Peoples Democratic Pary (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and Peter Obi, candidate of the Labour Party (LP), are challenging Tinubu’s victory.
The Allied Peoples Movement (APM) is also challenging Tinubu’s election.
The presidential election petition court had raised the issue of consolidating all the petitions and asked parties to address it.
At the resumed proceedings on Monday, Tinubu, through his team of lawyers, led by Akin Olujinmi, stated that merging all the petitions would adversely affect his ability to effectively defend all the issues raised against him by the petitioners.
“My lords, the issue of justice should be a restraint on the power of this court to exercise its discretion in granting the order for consolidation,” Olujinmi said.
“My lords, when the exercise of power is subject to limitation of some conditions, then it cannot be said that the exercise is mandatory.
“There are issues raised in one petition that are not there in others. The issues vary. The same goes for evidential issues that are based on pleadings that have been exchanged by parties in this case.
“We want to make it clear at this stage that it will be absolutely difficult for us to consent to consolidation of the petitions.
“I most humbly urge your lordships not to grant the consolidation.”
Also opposing the issue of consolidation, Charles Edosomwam, counsel for the APC, argued that consolidating the petitions would be against the interest of justice.
“We are opposing the consolidation of the petitions. The interest of justice will not be served by a consolidation of all of these petitions,” he said.
“The justice factor is a major issue for consideration before your lordships can arrive at a just conclusion of these matters.
“The grounds are different and the wide range of issues raised by parties are also different.
“The trial of the petitions will be unwieldy, and the substance of the case will be lost.”
INEC’s lawyer, Kemi Pinero, neither supported nor objected to the consolidation of the petitions.
Also, the petitioners did not oppose the court’s suggestion for a consolidation.