By Wandoo Sombo
The All Progressives Congress, (APC) and it’s presidential candidate in the Feb. 25, Presidential Election, Sen. Bola Tinubu, on Monday opposed the consolidating of the petitions as raised by the Presidential Election Petition Court, (PEPC).
At the resumed hearing to consider the matter of consolidation, counsels to Tinubu, Mr Akin Olujimi, SAN, and the APC, Mr Charles Edosomwa, SAN, opposed the move to consolidate the three different petitions.
They insisted that merging all the petitions, would affect their ability to effectively defend all the issues raised by the petitioners.
The senior lawyers maintained that the petitioners did not only raise various issues, but were seeking different reliefs.
Mr Shehu Abubakar
announced appearance for the Allied Peoples Party, (APM) Mr Kenny Pinhero, SAN represented the Independent National Electoral Court, (INEC).
Abubakar said the party would not be opposed to consolidation of the petition and counsel to INEC said that he was neither in support or opposition but however, left the decision at the discretion of the PEPC.
The counsel to INEC said that they were neutral on the issue.
The APC in opposing the application for consolidation of the petition said the interest of justice would not be served.
This he held was because the issues raised were different and because of the variance of pleadings.
“The justice factor is a good reason for your lordships not to consolidate the petition.
“The 2nd respondent is afraid of being prejudiced,”he said.
Olujimi submitted that the 3rd and 4th respondents also opposed consolidation of the petitions.
He adopted the submissions of counsel to the 2nd respondent, insisting that though paragraph 50 of 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2022, donated an in built discretion to the court, however he argued that such discretion was not mandatory.
“The interest of justice should be a restraint on the power of court to exercise discretion in granting consolidation.
“The issue canvassed in each of the petitions vary,” Olujimi said.
For the 5th respondent, Mr Rowland Otaru adopted the submissions of counsel for the 2nd to 4th respondents.