Decide Presidential Poll Petitions Before May 29 – Agbakoba

A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has urged the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal to conclude petitions on the February 25 presidential election before the inauguration of a new president on May 29.

The Independent National Electoral Commission declared All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, as winner of the poll.

But the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, and Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, who came second and third respectively, rejected the outcome of the election and have filed petitions at the tribunal to challenge it.

Agbakoba, in a statement he personally signed on Monday, urged the tribunal to adopt the procedures used for speedy conclusion of arbitration matters in its approach to the cases.

He also listed three items in the presidential election petition that can be resolved using the procedures he recommended.

He said, “I set out three issues in the presidential election petitions that are resolvable by application of procedural orders and or directions which may peremptorily decide some of the jurisdictional and procedural issues, stated in the petition as follows:

“Interpretation of Section 134 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as to whether securing 25 per cent of votes in Federal Capital Territory Abuja is compulsory to be President.

“Is a candidate permitted to stand for presidential or vice presidential election when he is at the same time a senatorial candidate?

“Issues relating to qualification of candidates to stand for presidential election.

“If the petition were arbitration proceedings, an arbitrator may issue a procedural order directed to counsel to address all complex disputes and the arbitral tribunal will deliver what is called a partial final award.”

Agbakoba expressed the belief that between the tribunal and Supreme Court, the petitions can be resolved within seven days to cool the temperature on the issue of interim government.

“The speed proposed here requires a radical departure from our present judicial policy where case management plays a very limited role in judicial outcomes. Case management is the spirit and driving force of modern adjudication. Speed of justice is the mantra that our Judiciary must proclaim very loudly. This is needed in the Presidential petitions proceedings urgently,” he added.

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