The Presidential Election Petition Court sitting in Abuja on Friday further adjourned hearing in the petition of the Allied Peoples Movement against the candidacy of President Bola Tinubu’s running mate, Kashim Shettima, after its lawyer, Yakubu Maikaswa, insisted on hearing his case on the merit.
THE WHISTLER reports that the PEPC had on June 2 adjourned the petitioner’s case to today, following parties’ inability to access certified true copies of a Supreme Court judgment that touched on Tinubu’s nomination of Shettima.
APM had sued the Independent National Electoral Commission, All Progressives Congress, Tinubu, Shettima and APC’s initial Vice-Presidential placeholder, Kabiru Masari, alleging that Shettima while being fielded by the APC as its Borno South Senatorial District candidate, accepted to run as Vice Presidential candidate to Tinubu.
The petitioners claimed the development was contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act.
But before the June 2 proceedings, Tinubu’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun SAN, told the five-man panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani that there was a subsisting Supreme Court judgment that settled a similar issue bordering on Shettima’s nomination.
But on the next adjourned date, parties said they were yet to access the said judgment.
The petitioner had asked for adjournment to today to give lawyers more time to get the CTC of the judgment.
At the resumed sitting on Friday, Maikaswa informed the court that he has not been able to get the said apex court judgment.
He said even the lawyers representing Tinubu and APC, who brought the issue, have been unable to get the judgment or even furnish him with a copy.
The petitioner said based on the development, he wanted his petition to be heard.
He subsequently asked for further adjournment to hear his case on the ground that he would be going for a “procedure” next week.
“My lords, we are still where we were at the last adjourned date, we have not been able to get the certified true copies of the Supreme Court judgment.
“In view of that we will be applying for a date for hearing of our petition.
“We respectfully apply for a hearing date,” the petitioner said.
INEC counsel, A.B. Mahmoud SAN, did not object to the call for an adjournment, saying “it is their case.”
APC lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, replied to the petitioner’s lawyer, insisting he had the burden to provide the Supreme Court document.
But Justice Tsammani corrected Fagbemi on his position.
“You raised the issue of a Supreme Court judgment.
“I behooves on you to produce that authority,” the judge said.
Fagbemi admitted and eventually aligned with the perspective of the judge.
He, however, explained that he went to the Supreme Court but was unable to get the judgment because a verdict and signature of one of the Justices who presided over the case had not been added to the CTC.
He also did not object to the call for adjournment.
Lawyers representing Tinubu and Shettima equally cited the same reasons and did not object.
But the legal team of Masari told the court that even if the CTC of the Supreme Court judgment has not been accessed by parties, the petitioner cannot claim not to be aware of such a verdict or take judicial notice of it.
Maikaswa responded that he cannot “take a position on a judgment I have not seen or read.”
“This petition is adjourned to June 19,” the court held.