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Presidential election petitions tribunal kicks off at Court of Appeal headquarters

THE 2019 Presidential election tribunal has kicked off at the headquarters of the Court of Appeal in Abuja on Wednesday.

The tribunal has four petitions before it challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the just concluded general election.

Speaking during the opening of the proceedings, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, President of the Court of Appeal, urged all to conduct themselves in a mature manner, assuring that all parties would be given equal opportunity to make their case.

“We assure all stakeholders that each litigant will be given equal opportunity to present his case in a mature manner before us,” Bulkachuwa pledged.

She also warned the parties to desist from engaging in a public analysis of the proceedings of the court, or sharing information on social or electronic media, on the day-to-day running of the hearing.

“We are witnesses to what has been happening in high-profile cases where such cases are being discussed and publicly decided prematurely in both the social and electronic media before the announcement of the verdict by the court,” Bulkachuwa noted.

“We pray that this time would be an exception for the benefit of the nation. We don’t expect counsel to any of the parties to hype the polity after any sitting by making a public analysis in the media as to what transpired in court.”

“These proceedings should be treated as would any other low-profile case, where proceedings in court are not discussed publicly until a decision is pronounced by the court.

“This admonition is also extended to the parties, their respective counsel and the members of the press.

“Any breach will not be condoned and we will not hesitate in taking necessary action against such offenders.”

Among the four petitions challenging Buhari’s electoral victory was the one by the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which wants the court to declare its candidate, Abubakar Atiku as the winner of the election.

Atiku and the PDP also want the court to declare that Buhari was not qualified to run for the elections in the first place as, according to them, he did not possess the requisite qualifications to vie for the post of president in the first place.

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