The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday failed in its bid to get the petition of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar challenging the April 21 2007 presidential
election thrown out by the Supreme Court on the grounds of incompetence.
Meanwhile, the apex court has adjourned to January 17, 2008 the hearing of the appeal filed by Atiku, his running mate, Senator Ben Obi and Action Congress (AC) against the decision of the Court of Appeal allowing INEC to increase the number of its witnesses from two to over 200.
Only last week, the presidential election tribunal hearing the petitions by two presidential candidates challenging the election of President Musa Yar’Adua concluded hearing and adjourned to January 28 next year for adoption of the written addresses by all the parties.
The INEC had in the course of proceedings at the Tribunal among other requests, prayed the court to throw out Atiku’s petition, which was rejected on September 3 2007 leading to Tuesday’s application that was rejected.
At Tuesday’s proceedings, the Supreme Court presided over by Justice Niki Tobi, Atiku’s counsel, Prof. Alfred Kasumu (SAN) who had Emeka Ngige (SAN) and Chief
Titus Ashaolu (SAN) with him told the panel that INEC’S application was served on him yesterday and it was not competent.
After getting the hint from the panel, Chief Amaechi Nwaiwu (SAN) for INEC withdrew the application and it was subsequently struck out.
INEC had attempted to ask the Supreme Court to strike out the entire petition or to strike out the name of Senator Obi from the petition.
The Commission had also wanted the court to strike out the name of its chairman, Prof. Maurice Maduakolam Iwu and any allegation against him in the petition and in addition, to strike out all paragraphs of the petition dealing with pre-election issues, especially the one relating to the allegation of unlawful exclusion.
On Atiku’s appeal, the court adjourned to next month following the observation of Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) for Yar’Adua that he was just served with the processes last week.