Atiku, PDP Withdraws Court Case Against INEC
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have decided to discontinue their application which sought to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow their agents to participate in the sorting process of ballot papers used during the February 25 presidential election. This decision was made known during a hearing at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, which was held at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, Nigeria. Atiku Abubakar, who is separately challenging the election’s outcome that declared Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, as the winner, was represented by his legal team led by Joe Kyari Gadzama. Atiku, PDP Withdraws Court Case Against INEC, continue to read.
The withdrawal of the application to compel INEC to allow PDP agents to participate in the sorting process of ballot papers used in the presidential election raises questions about the next course of action the PDP and Atiku will take. It is not clear whether the withdrawal of the application is a sign that they are abandoning their legal challenge against the election’s outcome or whether they will proceed with the case but without the relief sought in the withdrawn application.
The motion ex-parte marked: CA/PEC/10M/2023, was slated for hearing on Wednesday but was later withdrawn. A member of Atiku’s legal team, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the decision to withdraw the application was made following a meeting between Atiku’s legal team and the leadership of the electoral body on Tuesday.
Initially, the PDP and Atiku had filed the application because of the challenges and administrative bottlenecks they encountered at the INEC office when they sought access to the election materials as granted by the court. However, before the application could be heard, INEC called Atiku’s legal team for a meeting to resolve the issues. During the meeting, all the grey areas were sorted out, with INEC pledging to allow Atiku’s agents to observe the sorting process of the requested electoral materials, particularly the ballot papers. As this was the primary prayer of their fresh application, they deemed it unnecessary to proceed with the hearing. To save judicial time, they filed a notice of discontinuance, which was subsequently granted by Justice Joseph Ikyegh-led three-member panel. Atiku, PDP Withdraws Court Case Against INEC, continue to read.
The decision to withdraw the application could also be seen as a positive development toward achieving a peaceful resolution to the post-election dispute. The meeting between Atiku’s legal team and INEC leadership highlights the importance of dialogue and the need for stakeholders to work together to resolve electoral disputes. This could set a good precedent for future elections and help strengthen Nigeria’s democracy.
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, which is hearing the case, has a vital role to play in ensuring that the outcome of the election reflects the will of the people. The tribunal must conduct a fair and transparent hearing, take into account all evidence presented, and deliver a just and impartial verdict. The withdrawal of the application by the PDP and Atiku does not diminish the importance of the tribunal’s work. Atiku, PDP Withdraws Court Case Against INEC, continue to read.
It is worth noting that the electoral process in Nigeria is facing numerous challenges, including voter apathy, electoral violence, voter suppression, and vote buying. Addressing these challenges is critical to ensuring that future elections are free, fair, and credible. The Nigerian government, civil society organizations, and international partners must work together to address these challenges and strengthen the integrity of the electoral process.