The Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, consolidated the three different petitions that are seeking to nullify the outcome of the 2023 presidential election.
A five-member panel of the court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, in a unanimous decision, dismissed objections the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, raised against the merger of the petitions.
The court held that Justice of the cases demanded that they should be consolidated and dealt with as one petition since they all relate to the same election.
Consequently, it slated May 30 for candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr. Peter Obi, to open his case against the outcome of the presidential election that held on February 25.
However, though Obi earlier said he would need seven weeks to present his case through 50 witnesses, the court, in its ruling, reduced the period to three weeks, even as it gave the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Tinubu and the Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, five days each to defend the petition.
Likewise, the court gave the 4th respondent in the case, Kabiru Masari, three days to also defend himself.
The court stressed that the parties would adopt final briefs of argument on August 5 to enable it to fix a date for judgement.
Aside from Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who came second in the election, and Obi of the LP who came third in the election, the Allied Peoples Movement, APM, equally lodged a petition to challenge the outcome of the presidential election.
Though five petitions were initially filed to challenge the return of Tinubu as winner of the election, however, the Action Alliance, AA, on May 8, withdrew its case, even as the Action Peoples Party, APP, followed suit two days later by also discontinuing further proceedings on its own petition
Meanwhile, the Justice Tsammani-led panel gave a hint that it may ban both lawyers and members of the public from entering the courtroom with mobile phones on the next adjourned date.