Ayo Oluokun/Abuja

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has started the delivery of its much awaited judgment in the petition filed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the February 23 general election.

This came immediately lawyers for all the parties announced appearances.

Yunus Usman representing INEC came with 40 other lawyers. Taiwo Osipitan(SAN) announced appearance for Buhari. He said he came with over 60 lawyers. Lead lawyer, Wole Olanipekun unavoidably absent. He was said to have travelled to Europe.

Lateef Fagbemi announced appearance for APC. Levi Uzoukwu announced appearance for PDP and Atiku. He also came with a train of lawyers.

Justice Garba Mohammed, the tribunal chairman said after lawyers have announced appearances : “You recall that the court had noted after the final addresses were taken that it will give a date for the final decision. That date is today.

“You will also recall that a number of applications were taken whose rulings were reserved till the date of the final judgment in accordance with provisions of the first schedule. Those rulings are ready. They will be delivered before the final ruling.”

Justice Muhammed said he would start with the first respondents motion filed on May 5, 2019.

He said INEC had asked the court to strike out the petition because the petitioners failed to add the name of the vice president who is a necessary party to the petition.

The application had four grounds upon which it was filed. And the court said the PDP filed its responses to the INEC application.

Among the four grounds are: that the vice president is an indispensable party to the petition and that his fair hearing would be breached should a decision be reached without his input.

That Section 137 (2) of the Electoral Act makes Mr Osinbajo a vital part of the petition.

That if the section above is to be followed the petition would be invalidated.

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