Atiku reveals upcoming inauguration not binding on court
The upcoming swearing-in of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, on May 29, has been characterised by Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and contender for president of the United States in the general elections of 2023, as a ritual that cannot bind the court.
Immediately after the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja consolidated the petitions filed by the PDP standard bearer with those filed by the candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and the Allied Peoples Movement on Tuesday, Atiku’s lead attorney, Chris Uche, SAN, expressed hope of reclaiming Atiku’s mandate and asserted that the court had the authority to remove Tinubu from office even after he had been sworn in.
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He explained that the hearing on the merged petitions would commence a day after Tinubu had been sworn in.
Uche said, “I have been asked about May 29, I want to assure people that swearing in is only a ceremony that does not in any way tie the hands of the court. The taking of the oath binds the person who takes the oath and not the court.
“The court has given you its timelines for parties to present their case. We are happy that with the development, the petitions will be expeditiously determined.”
Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel, during the presentation of its pre-hearing report on Tuesday, approved Atiku’s request to use three weeks to present evidence before the court.
In his joint petition with the PDP, marked: CA/PEPC/05/2023, Atiku said the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election was “invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.”
In addition to asking the court to declare him the victor of the presidential election after receiving the second-highest number of votes cast, Atiku and the PDP also requested that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, remove the Certificate of Return that had been given to Tinubu.
The President-elect, Tinubu, had prohibited members of his legal team from speaking to reporters throughout the hearing of the petitions that sought to void his election victory.