By Andy Chukwu
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday dismissed an application by a faction of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) to withdraw the petition filed in the name of the party and Albert Owuru, its Presidential Candidate in the 2019 Presidential election.
Owuru and the HDP had jointly filed a petition before the tribunal to challenge the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the poll.
But a faction of the party led by Poland Tapre subsequently filed an application before the tribunal praying for the withdrawal of the party as a co-petitioner in the case on the grounds that the petition was filed in the name of the party without its consent.
The faction claimed that Owuru had since been suspended from the party in August 2018, and Tapre had been the National Chairman of the party.
The application was opposed by Owuru’s legal team.
Ruling on Thursday, the five-man bench of the tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba, dismissed the application on the grounds that the faction of the party opposing the petition filed in its name failed to offer any rebuttal to the claim by Owuru that he remained the National Chairman and leader of the party.
The tribunal adjourned further pre-hearing session in respect of the petition till July 2 to hear an application by the Independent National Electoral Commission seeking the dismissal of the petition.