The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has fixed July 18 to entertain an application filed by the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM, Chief Frank Igwebuike, seeking to withdraw from challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election.
Justice Mohammed Garba fixed the date on Wednesday after the panel discovered that the application was not ripe for hearing.
News Agency of Nigerian, NAN, reports that PDM and its candidate, Aminchi Habu had jointly filed the petition to challenge the outcome of the Feb.23 presidential election.
Counsel for the national chairman of the party, Morrison Onunu, had informed the tribunal of his need to file further counter affidavit against Habu’s reply to the application.
However, Yunus Usman, SAN, Counsel for Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Counsel for the president, and Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, Counsel for the All Progressive Congress, APC, urged the court to hear the application.
The application was brought pursuant to Rule 29 of the Rule of Procedure for Election Petition and Section 6 (6)of the Constitution.
The applicant is seeking an order of the tribunal to grant leave to the second petitioner, PDM, to withdraw as a petitioner in the petition marked: CA/PEPC/004/2019 in its entirety.
The applicant further seeks an order striking out the second petitioner, PDM, as a petitioner with above code number.
Mr Igwebuike is also seeking such further or other orders as the court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.
Speaking to newsmen after the session, Mr Onunu, said the decision to apply for the withdrawal of the petition was in the interest of the nation.
The counsel for the applicant also explained that the National Working Committee of the party decided to withdraw the petition against the president to allow him concentrate in delivering good governance.
“We have resolved not to be part of those using the tribunal to distract the president from doing his job.
“The party is also interested in the peace presently enjoyed in the country and would not use this petition to destabilize the country,’’ Mr Onunu said.