The presidential election petition tribunal has adjourned till July, 1 to entertain a motion brought by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the June 11 proceedings of the tribunal.
The court postponed its hearing, following a request by the PDP through its counsel, Chris Uche, for time to file the replies on points of law, after getting the initial responses from parties to their application against the June 11 happenings in court.
The proceedings on June 11, currently challenged by the PDP, had resulted in the withdrawal of an application earlier brought by the All Progressives Congress (APC), which had sought the dismissal of the PDP’s substantive petition on technical grounds.
According to the APC’s initial application brought by its counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, the PDP’s application was not properly signed because the name of the lead counsel, Levi Uzuegwu, was not clearly written as the signatory to the petition. Consequently the APC alleged that the PDP’s petition was not signed by a known lawyer, since they viewed that the name of the petition’s signatory is not the same as that of Mr Uzuegwu.
Controversies that birthed recent request The controversy however began after the PDP alleged that the APC had acted in a manner that suggested an abuse of court process because the ruling party filed two applications bothering on the same technical objection.
In its reaction to both applications, the PDP responded with counter affidavits to one of the motions by the APC, but only noted that the second one was an abuse of court process.
Following that observation, the APC requested the tribunal to withdraw the application responded to, by the PDP. In a further reaction, Mr Uzuegwu noted that the request to withdraw the application already responded to, was coming rather late. The PDP lawyer said the matter had gone beyond the stage in which a request for withdrawal could be made. He therefore suggested that the application ought to have been struck out.
After much persuasion by the APC through its counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, the Court withdrew the APC’s application already responded to, by the PDP. After the withdrawal, the APC noted that it now had a single application, bothering on the same contentious issue.
Mr Fagbemi asked the court to address their application, after noting that the PDP filed no response to the instant preliminary application. In a reaction, the PDP reiterated its argument that the court ought to have heard the earlier application, which it had responded to.
Mr Uzuegwu argued that his clients had a right to be heard and submitted that the court could not proceed to rule on a request without their reaction. Mr Fagbemi and his counterpart in the APC, however, argued that the PDP received both applications in time for them to have filed their responses.
Mr Fagbemi submitted that the PDP should be held responsible for failing to file their response to the second application within the stipulated time.
In a ruling, the Court, on June 11, agreed with the APC and ruled that the PDP ought to have filed its response in time and adjourned to rule on the application without the impute of the PDP.
It was based on that decision that the PDP filed its instant application, asking the court to allow them the opportunity to be heard before a decision is reached regarding the preliminary application.
After receiving the PDP’s latest application, the APC and other parties responded through documents that were transmitted to the PDP on Wednesday morning.
Current application Subsequently, after the matter was called on Wednesday, Mr Uche requested for time to respond to the written addresses from parties on points of law.
“We were served this morning with the counter affidavit and written address of the first respondents and third respondents,” Mr Uche said. He therefore demanded for time to file their replies. The tribunal adjourned till July 1, to allow the PDP reply on points of law.