By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA- The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Monday, granted President Muhammadul Buhari’s request to be allowed to amend his reply to the petition the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, filed to challenge his re-election.
In a unanimous ruling, the Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-member panel held that allowing President Buhari’s prayer would not affect the merit or otherwise of issues the petitioners raised against the outcome of the February 23 presidential election.
It noted that President Buhari who was sued as the 2nd Respondent, merely applied to insert the service address and National Identification Number of his lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, as required by the Rules.
The tribunal said it was satisfied that granting the application would not prejudice the petitioners’ case, stressing that the relief would not affect the competence of President Buhari’s existing reply to the petition.
Consequently, the tribunal gave President Buhari three days to file his amended reply to the petition marked PEPC/002/2019.
However, the tribunal said it would reserve its decision on a preliminary objection that PDP and Atiku filed to challenge its jurisdiction to entertain President Buhari’s reply to the petition, which they argued was legally incompetent.
Meanwhile, the panel, has commenced ruling on the petitioners’ application for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to be compelled to grant them access to data in the central server that was used to transmit results of the presidential election.
The petitioners are equally seeking to be allowed to inspect all the Smart Card Readers that were used for the election, as well as to be allowed to file report of all the inspections before the tribunal.
More details soon.