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Atiku’s Lawyers, PDP Absent As Supreme Court Gives Judgment Rationale

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, were not represented as the Supreme Court on Friday explained reasons it dismissed their appeal.

The party and its candidate had appealed the September 11, 2019, decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) affirming the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The Supreme Court then dismissed the appeal on 30 October and promised to give reasons for its decision on Friday, November 15, 2019.

However, when the court resumed proceedings on Friday morning, no lawyer announced appearance for the petitioners. No prominent member of the PDP was in court compared to the situation on October 30, 2019, when chieftains of the party were all in the court.

This prompted Alex Izinyon (SAN), Buhari’s representative, to draw the court’s attention to the abnormal development and noted that it was against the court’s rules for an appellant to stay away from court when a decision is being taken on the appeal.

According to him, no lawyer announced appearance for the appellants and he wondered if hearing notices were not served on them.

Justice Okoro, who led a three-man panel, in his response, said the appellants were served with hearing notices and that the court will proceed with the business of the day despite the appellants’ absence.

Justice Okoro then proceeded with reading the reasons for the court’s judgment, which he said was written by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad.

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