By Esther Blankton
The Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have withdrawn an application they filed to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission to allow their agents to participate in the process of sorting out ballot papers that were used for the February 25 presidential election.
Both the PDP and Atiku, who are separately challenging the outcome of the election that was declared in favour of Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, told the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, that they have deemed it fit to discontinue the application.
When the motion ex-parte, marked: CA/PEC/10M/2023, was called up for hearing on Wednesday, Atiku, through his team of lawyers led by Joe Kyari Gadzama, told the court that he filed a notice of discontinuance.
Following this, Justice Joseph Ikyegh-led three-member panel struck out the application.
A member of Atiku’s legal team, who did not want his name mentioned, disclosed that the decision to withdraw the application was an outcome of a meeting his legal team held with the leadership of the electoral body on Tuesday.
He said initially the application was filed because of challenges and administrative bottlenecks they encountered at the INEC office when they wanted access to the election materials as granted by the court.
“However, before the application which was dated March 13 could be slated for hearing, INEC, on its own, called our legal team for a meeting.
“It was at that meeting which held yesterday (Tuesday) that all the grey areas were sorted out, with INEC pledging to allow our agents to observe the process of sorting out some of the electoral materials we requested, especially the ballot papers.
“Since that was primarily our prayer in the fresh application we filed, we felt that it would not be necessary to proceed with the hearing.
So, to save judicial time, we filed a notice of discontinuance which was accordingly granted.”