The chairman of the Tribunal and President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, has adjourned hearing all applications emanating from the Hope Democratic Party’s petition and others challenging the victory of President Buhari in the February 23 presidential election.
Hope Democratic Party (HDP) had earlier filed a motion seeking an order of the presidential election tribunal restraining President Buhari from presenting himself to be sworn-in on May 29th, 2019.
The party is also seeking an order restraining the Chief Justice of Nigeria from swearing-in, administering the oath of office and oath of allegiance to the president on May 29th, 2019. The Hope Democratic Party claimed that inspite of the pendency of the legal action against President Buhari, he has been making frantic efforts and preparation for his inauguration on May 29, 2019, by the CJN.
The Hope Democratic Party also said the petition has been served on President Buhari and pleadings have been exchanged. Although, the petitioner said it has announced the application, the respondent including counsels to President Buhari, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said they have not been served with the motion.
In response, counsel to INEC asked the tribunal to award a cost of N1million against the petitioner – Hope Democratic Party. On his part counsel to President Buhari, Mr Wole Olanipekun did not ask for cost but however said he needs time to go through the application. He also told the tribunal that he has an application on behalf of the president seeking to dismiss the petition of the Hope Democratic Party.
Counsel to President Buhari, Wole Olanipekun notified the tribunal of an application he filed seeking the dismissal of the petition of the Hope Democratic Party. Counsel to the Hope Democratic Party, Mr Oliver Enya in his reply told the tribunal that he will be objecting to the application because it touches on facts that are in the substantive suit.
The tribunal, therefore, said it will longer hear the application to stop the President’s inauguration because parties have not been served. The tribunal then adjourned hearing to May 22.
Other petitions challenging Buhari’s victory are filed by other political parties. They include the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.