The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Wednesday adjourned to Friday, May 19 for continuation of pre-hearing in the petition by presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi against the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu.
LP National Chairman, Julius Abure was also in court on Wednesday. The party’s factional chairman, Lamidi Apapa was also present.
The Tribunal had last week adjourned the pre-hearing session on Obi and the LP’s petition till May 17 at the instance of the petitioners.
On Wednesday, the justices arrived to commence the day’s proceedings and also refused to acknowledge the representation of the party aside from Obi.
A mild drama, however, ensured between the two camps of the Labour Party on which group should be in court.
The Tribunal refused to take an appearance for the LP as acting National Chairman of the party, Lamidi Apapa, as well as the National Women’s Leader of the party, Dudu Manugu, tried to make an appearance for Labour Party when the petition was called.
Justice Haruna Tsamani noted that if two persons are making an appearance for the party, they will not be put on record.
Apapa had attempted to occupy the seat reserved for the Abure but was resisted.
At the resumed hearing, counsel for Labour Party, Livy Uzoukwu informed the court that the scheduled meeting to agree on documents to be tendered for hearing hasn’t yielded much results as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has only made available 30% of the documents required from them.
He added that this is contrary to commitment by the INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, that all documents required shall be made available.
He further added that the party is yet to get documents with respect to Rivers State where he said the Resident Electoral Commissioner said there are no forms EC8A available to be given but is yet to put that in writing despite request to do so.
Counsel for INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud, however, said he is taken aback by the allegations of the counsel for the Labour party as they they did not show up for the meeting as agreed, and walked out of the rescheduled meeting.
Abubakar added that the documents for Rivers and Sokoto states, where indeed provided, but the Labour Party refused to pay the sum of 1.5million naira for Sokoto State, and the Form EC8A for Rivers State, have not been given to them.
He added that some documents were given to the party, but refused to collect it until it was complete.
He assured the court that they were doing everything possible to assist the court in an open manner.
He added that they are ready to pay any amount of money for a document.