President Muhammadu Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have again been dragged before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) over alleged unlawful conduct of the February 23 Presidential election.
The petitioners, Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and its presidential candidate, Chief Ambrose Owuru are challenging the legality of the election earlier slated for February 16 but later shifted to February 23.
The petition marked CA/EPT/PRE/001/2019 is praying the tribunal to nullify the purported election of February 23 and the subsequent declaration of Buhari as the winner on the grounds that INEC has no power under any law to shift the February 16 date to 23 of the same month.
The two petitioners who claimed to have been excluded from Participating in the February 23 poll averred that the election was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act stipulating the conditions under which election can be lawfully postponed.
The main grouse of the petitioners was that they were validly nominated for the 2019 general election, but were unlawfully excluded from the said elections by INEC by delisting their names and party logo from the ballot papers.
The petitioners asserted that they will, at the trial lead evidence and rely on the laws in support of their petitions to establish that the shifting of the election from February 16 to 23 was without the force of law and powers to do so.
Another grouse of the petitioners was that INEC placed a false version of their registered party logo on the ballot papers for elections and that cost them the chances of realizing their political ambition in the 2019 general election.
Meanwhile, an ex-parte motion filed by the petitioners seeking to serve President Muhammadu Buhari with their petition and other processes is to be heard at the Court of Appeal in Abuja on Thursday, March 28.
The ex-parte motion filed by their counsel, Yusuf Ibrahim, is seeking an order of the court to serve President Buhari by pasting their petition at the Aso Villa Presidential office, the National Secretariat of the APC and at the tribunal’s notice board.
The ex-parte motion followed an affidavit of non-service deposed to by one Abubakar Mohammed, Chief Bailiff of the Court of Appeal, where he claimed that securities at the reception of Aso Villa denied him access to enter and effect service on President Buhari on the grounds that there is no directive from the president’s office to that effect.