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Presidential Election Tribunal throws out Buhari, INEC’s request

The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal, on Thursday, struck out an application filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and President Muhammadu Buhari, seeking a dismissal of the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM).

PDM’s candidate, Aminchi Habu, and his party are challenging their exclusion from the February 23 presidential election.
They are asking the tribunal to nullify the poll and order the conduct of a fresh one which would include them.
INEC and Buhari, being the second respondent, had asked the tribunal to dismiss and strike out the petition filed by the PDM on the grounds that it did not file for notice of pre-trial within the seven days after the close of pleading as stipulated by law.
Delivering ruling, the tribunal dismissed the two applications for being unmeritorous.
The panel held that findings from its own record showed that the application of petitioners was actually made a day after pleadings were closed in the petition.
The tribunal held that pleadings closed on April 29 with the last reply of the 1st respondent, while the petitioners had applied for the notice of pre-hearing on April 30, “well within the 7 days provided by law”.
“The petition cannot be deemed to have been abandoned. Application is lacking in merit, it is accordingly refused and dismissed,” Justice Mohammed Garba held.

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