Five interesting highlights from presidential tribunal this week


It's no longer news that five political parties initially filed petitions to challenge the victory of the President-elect and the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.


While two of the lot namely the Action People’s Party (APP) and the Action Alliance (AA) have decided to withdraw their petitions during the first week of proceedings, the likes of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and Labour Party have refused to give up the chase.


Likewise, Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar both of the Labour Party and the PDP respectively have vowed to continue their arguments on why Tinubu's victory should be nullified.


While the first week of proceedings was full of intrigues and legal fireworks as highlighted here, week two has thrown up some dramatic scenes. Here are some of the interesting events that caught our attention.


Peter Obi meets his accuser in court

The Labour Party candidate appeared in court again on Thursday, May 18, 2023, to monitor the pre-hearing of his petition, but had other matters to deal with.


Apparently, an Obi doppelganger has been on the prowl, mimicking his voice and hues. This claim was made by the former Anambra State Governor after meeting Prince Mustapha Audu, the son of the late Governor of Kogi State, Abubakar Audu.


Audu had accosted a Labour Party chieftain, Dr Yunusa Tanko, in the court premises and narrated how the presidential candidate had called him on the phone while he was in front of his office on Tuesday morning at about 11 am.


Audu alleged that Obi quickly dropped the call having realised that he couldn't reply to him in Igbo language, making him conclude that the 61-year-old politician is an ethnic and religious bigot.


Obi left his seat in the courtroom to speak with Audu immediately after the allegation was brought to his notice. He explained to the late governor's son that he never initiated the call and was outside the country on the day the incident allegedly happened.


Apapa causes a stir in the court

Pa Lamidi Apapa perhaps got more than he bargained for when he appeared at the presidential tribunal on Wednesday.

The factional Labour Party National Chairman had stormed the courtroom accompanied by a handful of his supporters but a melee ensued as he tried to exert his supremacy over the Julius Abure-led faction.

This led to a shouting match in the courtroom as Labor Party officials and Apapa supporters had a go at each other. However, when the party's case was called, Obi and the Labour Party’s Women Leader, Dudu Manoga were on the court's record.

Apapa also stood up introducing himself as the National Chairman of the party, but Justice Haruna Tsammani asked him to stop the introduction, saying the court won’t recognise the ‘National Chairman’ on record.

The disappointed factional Chairman faced another humiliation as Labour Party supporters, lying in wait within the court premises, booed and roughed him on his way out of the courtroom.

Undaunted Apapa returns to court

Not intimidated by the threats from the Obidients camp, the controversial Chairman attended proceedings again on Friday, but this time without any drama.

Images from the court showed Apapa sitting quietly to observe proceedings and was later seen with a police escort as he made his exit after the session.

Judge shuts down Apapa-led faction's lawyer

Another drama occurred on Friday as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who had been briefed by the Apapa-led faction of the Labour Party, was shut down by the judge as he attempted to announce an appearance for the party.


This happened after Obi’s petition against Tinubu was called for a hearing and lawyers were asked to announce their appearances.


Chief Oba Maduabuchi, SAN, stood up and told the court that he was briefed to represent the Labour Party. His address came after Prof. Awa Kalu, SAN, who appeared alongside five other SANs had already announced his presence as counsel for the petitioners.


However, Justice Tsammani-led's five-member panel of the court declined to record Maduabuchi's appearance, while also scolding the lawyer for accepting the brief when he was aware that the party already had its team of lawyers.


Tinubu tackles Atiku over request for live broadcast

Counsels to Tinubu and the Vice President-elect, Kashim Shettima, have argued against the request made by Atiku and the PDP to have proceedings at the presidential tribunal televised.


The former Vice President had asked the court last week to allow proceedings televised live to Nigerians and other interested global audiences in the spirit of justice and transparency.


But, arguing against the motion, the respondents, represented by their legal team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, expressed their respect for the petitioners while labelling the motion as an abuse of the court's processes.


They criticised the application, deeming it frivolous, and stressed that the court is not a platform for public entertainment but a space for serious legal proceedings.


Arguing separately when the matter was called at the PEPC, the respondents said live telecast of proceedings could ridicule the traditional solemn nature of court proceedings.


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