The President-elect, Bola Tinubu and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday argued against combining the three different petitions that are challenging the results of the 2023 presidential election.
gathered that the leading lawyer in Tinubu’s legal team, Akin Olujinmi (SAN) insisted that the consolidation of all petitions could negatively impact their capacity to address the various claims raised by the petitioners.
Tinubu pleaded to the court, “My lords, the issue of justice should be a restraint on the power of this court to exercise its discretion in granting the order for consolidation,” highlighting the numerous and diverse concerns raised by the petitioners.
The Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja had earlier disclosed its plan to consolidate all the petitions, leveraging its authority per Paragraph 50 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act.
Tinubu’s lawyer argued that the Electoral Act provision wasn’t absolute.
He said, “My lords, when the exercise of power is subject to a limitation of some conditions, then it cannot be said that the exercise is mandatory.
“There are issues raised in one petition that are not there in others. The issues vary. The same goes for evidential issues that are based on pleadings that have been exchanged by parties in this case.
“We want to make it clear at this stage that it will be absolutely difficult for us to consent to consolidation of the petitions.
“I most humbly urge your lordships not to grant the consolidation.”
Similarly, the APC’s counsel, Mr Charles Edosomwam, SAN, maintained that the consolidation could compromise justice due to the distinct grounds and diverse range of issues raised in the petitions.
Edosomwam said, “The justice factor is a major issue for consideration before your lordships can arrive at a just conclusion of these matters.
“The grounds are different and the wide range of issues raised by parties are also different.
“The trial will be unwindy and major issues before this court would be lost like a pin in a haystack.
“Moreover, it will be pragmatically impossible for the respondent to effectively defend the case.
“It is our position that the issue of justice cannot be sacrificed at the altar of convenience.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) stated that it wasn’t against the proposed consolidation of the petition but would leave the issue to the court’s discretion.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) all lodged petitions challenging the election’s outcome.
Though initially five petitions were filed to challenge Tinubu’s win, the Action Alliance (AA) and the Action Peoples Party (APP) have since withdrawn their cases.
The court announced it would present a pre-hearing report on the petitions on Tuesday.