The former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 general elections, Atiku Abubakar, has described the forthcoming swearing-in of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, on May 29, as a ceremony that cannot bind the court.
Atiku’s lead counsel, Chris Uche, SAN, who expressed hope of reclaiming Atiku’s mandate, shortly after the Presidential Election Petition Court sitting in Abuja, consolidated the PDP standard bearer’s petition alongside the ones filed by the candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and the Allied Peoples Movement, on Tuesday, said the court had the power to sack Tinubu from office even after he had been sworn in.
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.”
Recall that the 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.”
Aside from praying the court to declare him the winner of the presidential election, having secured the second-highest number of votes cast, Atiku and the PDP applied for the withdrawal of the Certificate of Return that was issued to Tinubu by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Meanwhile, the President-elect, Tinubu, had barred his legal team from speaking to newsmen throughout the hearing of the petitions seeking to invalidate his election victory.