Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has dismissed the petition brought by the candidate of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), Pastor Aminchi Habu, challenging the conduct and declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the February 23 election.
By this development, President Buhari is now faced with two petitions from the candidates of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar and the Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Chief Albert Owuru, slated for July 29 and August 5 respectively.
The petition was dismissed by the tribunal, yesterday, following its dramatic withdrawal by the petitioner and his party.
The petitioners had predicated their petition on grounds of unlawful exclusion from the election despite his nomination and clearance for the poll.
In a brief ruling following withdrawal of the petitioners, the tribunal’s Chairman, Justice Mohammed Garba accordingly dismissed it.
Although the petition was scheduled for hearing, yesterday, the petitioner shocked the crowd in the tribunal when he dramatically announced that he was withdrawing the petition filed against Buhari four months ago.
The petitioner told the tribunal that he was withdrawing it to prevent Buhari from incurring expenses to defend himself and also to allow him concentrate on the act of governance.
Besides, the PDM presidential candidate also told the tribunal that he had found an alternative means of seeking redress in his complaint against Buhari’s election.
However, when the matter was called, counsel to the presidential candidate, Aliu Lemu, informed the tribunal of an application filed on July 23, seeking the withdrawal of their petition against the election of President Buhari.
When the motion on notice for the withdrawal of the petition was moved by Lemu, counsel to Buhari, Yusuf Ali (SAN), the All Progressives Congress (APC) counsel, Funke Adekoya (SAN) and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Yunus Usman (SAN) did not object. Rather, they hailed the decision as a positive development.
Consequently, the tribunal chairman, Garba, granted the application and dismissed the petition.
The tribunal had last week adjourned to yesterday, for commencement of hearing in the petition after dismissing a similar application filed and argued last week by the PDM’s National Chairman, Frank Igwebuike, who sought to remove the party’s name from the petition of the presidential candidate.
The PDM’s petition is one of the three remaining petitions filed before the tribunal to challenge the outcome of the February 23, 2019 poll.
Habu and his party, PDM, in their petition tagged CA/PEPT/ 04/2019 filed on March 19, 2019 were seeking the nullification of the February 23 presidential poll on grounds that they were excluded from participating in the election.
They specifically alleged that the party’s logo was not included in the ballot paper used for the presidential election as required by law, despite their lawful nomination and clearance by the electoral body to participate in the poll.