President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Court of Appeal election Tribunal handling the case of the presidential election filed against his victory by Atiku Abubakar to first determine his preliminary objection seeking to dismiss the petition by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate at the pre-hearing stage.
President Buhari’s lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said the petition was by his client on April 16.
Olanipekun said: “We filed our reply on 16th April 2019 and we also filed our motion including preliminary objections. We argued that the preliminary objection be set down for hearing during the pre-trial.”
In the objection, the president asked the court to dismiss Atiku’s claim that he lacked the qualification to be president on the grounds that by virtue of Section 31(5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
He said: “It is the Federal High Court or of a State that has jurisdiction to adjudicate on the grounds/complaints contained therein.”
The petition by President Buhari followed the suit was filed by Atiku against the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the 2019 presidential election.
In her reaction, the president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa warned against public comments which would publicly decide presidential petitions in the court and overheat the polity.
Bulkachuwa said: “We therefore require the maximum cooperation of all the stakeholders, especially from the leaders of the Bar. We expect the proceedings to be conducted with decorum, a high sense of responsibility, dedication, and patriotism in our quest to arrive at just decisions in all petitions before us.”