The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has dismissed the application by the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) seeking to withdraw from the petition challenging the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a ruling, yesterday, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Mohammed Garba, held that the motion for withdrawal was brought outside the prehearing session and contravened Section 47 (1) of First Paragraph of the Electoral Act.
The judge said the applicant did not fulfil the conditions set in the Act, which was that such an application outside the prehearing session could only be made in extreme circumstances, and with the leave of the court.
Pre-hearing session was concluded on June 27, while the national chairman of PDM, Frank Igwebuike, brought the application to withdraw from the petition on July 9. PDM and its presidential candidate, Aminchi Habu, were challenging their exclusion from participating in the February 23 presidential election. The petition was brought under Section 138 of the Electoral Act, 2010, which held that the election would be nullified where “a candidate was validly nominated but unlawfully excluded.”
The judge upheld the objection of Aliyu Lemu, counsel to the presidential candidate, Aminchi Habu, that the political party’s withdrawal from the petition would prejudice his petition since it was the political party that sponsored the candidate.