*Says INEC acting as busybody
By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku on Friday, told the Presidential Election Petition Court that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lacks legal right to defend Ahmed Bola Tinubu in the drug and dual citizenship accusations.
Atiku insisted that INEC is a meddlesome interloper in its defence of Tinubu on the qualifications for the last presidential election.
Atiku specifically accused the electoral body of being busy body and fishing in another person’s troubled water.
INEC through its counsel at Friday’s proceedings, Mr Kemi Pinhero SAN had moved a motion on notice praying the Court to strike out some of the allegations Atiku made against Tinubu in his petition.
The electoral body pleaded with the Court to strike out 32 allegations made against Tinubu by Atiku which among others, comprised forfeiture of $460, 000 Dollars in the United States of America (USA), possession of Guinea’s Passport and Allegiance to foreign countries.
Atiku had in the petition challenged the declaration of Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress APC as the joint winner of the February 25 Presidential election.
INEC said that the allegations which formed 32 paragraphs in the Atiku’s petition should be discontenced by the Court for various reasons comprising lack of jurisdiction.
But Atiku through his lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche SAN in a counter argument lambasted INEC’S request and asked the Court to dismiss the electoral body’s position.
Uche argued in the counter affidavit that it was not the duty of INEC to do the battle or argue sny case for Tinubu who is 2nd defendant in the petition.
Specifically, Atiku’s lead counsel insisted that INEC ought to be neutral and defend only the conduct of the election in dispute.
He argued that the electoral body has somersaulted by turning itself to busy body and meddlesome interloper by taking up the defense of Tinubu against the provisions of the law.
The Senior lawyer maintained that the request of INEC in its defence of Tinubu is not only spurious, strange but constituted a gross abuse of court process in addition to lacking in merit.
Uche argued that all efforts by INEC to get fundermrntal averments against Tinubu should be treated as efforts in futility, vexatious and irritating and should not be allowed to hold.
“INEC ought not be here to fight the battle of Tinubu, INEC ought to be neutral and at best, defend only the election it conducted and which is the subject of Alhaji Abubakar Atiku’s petition.
‘This application by INEC in support of Tinubu lacks merit. It is grossly incompetent and should be outrightly rejected and thrown to the dust bin”.
The Senior lawyer therefore asked the Court to dismiss INEC’S motion for being gross abuse of court process, lacking in merit and grossly incompetent.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani has fixed ruling till the date of judgment in the substantive petition.