Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The internal crisis rocking the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) on Thursday manifested at the presidential election petition tribunal with an application by its factional chairman seeking the withdrawal of its petition challenging the election of President Muhammadu Buhari at the February 23 polls.
The party and its presidential candidate, Chief Ambrose Oworu had approached the tribunal to nullify the victory of Buhari in the February 23 presidential poll.
However, when the petition came up for hearing Thursday, the tribunal was confronted with two applications filed on June 18, 2019 by a factional National Chairman of the party, Poland Awinitabre.
While the first application sought the striking out of the name of the party from the petition, the second is seeking for a change of counsel.
During one of the tribunal’s session, the factional National Chairman of the HDP, Poland Awinitabre, openly disowned counsel for the HDP and its presidential candidate, Chief Oworu.
When the petition was called, Chairman of the presidential election petition, Justice Mohammed Garba drew the attention of counsel to the various parties to the pending applications.
But while counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Yunus Usman (SAN), that of President Buhari, Osaro Eghobamien (SAN) and Charles Edosamwam (SAN) all claimed knowledge of the applications, counsel to Ambrose Oworu, and the HDP, Oliver Eya said he was not aware of the said applications.
Eya asked the tribunal to disregard the applications as they did not emanate from his clients.
He specifically told the tribunal that the applications were filed by some busy bodies and meddlesome interlopers who are not known to the petitioners.
This was after acknowledging that the two applications were served on him in court.
However, counsel to the APC, Edosamwam, drew the attention of the tribunal to a counter affidavit filed by the presidential candidate of HDP and the first petitioner, Ambrose Oworu against the two applications.
Responding, Justice Garba said since the applications have become part of the process in the tribunal’s file, it is only pertinent to hear them.
Meanwhile, Eya applied that since the applications were served on him in court, he needed time to respond to them.
In his short ruling, the tribunal held that “in view of the fact that the applications were served on Eya this morning, his request is hereby granted.”
The tribunal consequently adjourned to June 25, 2019 for hearing on the applications.