Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Justice Mohammed Garba is now the new chairman of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
The tribunal this afternoon, adjourned proceedings till Tuesday on the applications filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election.
Justice Garba was drafted from the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal to take the place of the president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa as leader of the five-member tribunal.
Justice Bulkachuwa, had on May 22, 2019, rescued herself from heading the panel, following a petition lodged against her by the PDP and its candidate, Abubakar.
The petitioners had argued that it would be wrong for Justice Bulkachuwa whose husband and son are active card-carrying members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which supported President Buhari’s election to go on as head of the tribunal handling the case.
Meanwhile, the Coalition for Change, (C4C) and its presidential candidate, Geff Chizee Ojinka, have withdrawn the petition they lodged challenging the outcome of the February 23 presidential election.
The decision was communicated to the tribunal through their lawyer, Mr. Obed Agu, who filed a notice to discontinue the case against Buhari, shortly before the proceeding commenced.
Although the petitioners did not disclose the reason behind their action, they urged the tribunal to strike out their case.
There was no opposition to the application either by President Buhari’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun, that of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Yunuz Uztaz, or APC’s Prince Lateef Fagbemi.
In a short ruling, Justice Garba consequently dismissed the petition, even as he refrained from awarding any cost against the petitioners. Specifically, the petitioners had asked the tribunal to nullify the February 23 presidential poll on the premise that its party logo was not included in the ballot papers.