Chris Uche, a lawyer to Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2023 general election, has said the inauguration of President-elect Bola Tinubu will not affect the petitions at the election tribunal.

Tinubu was declared the winner on March 1 by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and is expected to be sworn in on May 29.

However, his victory is being challenged in court by Atiku and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP).

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Some Nigerians, including the former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan, have demanded that Tinubu should not be sworn in before the conclusion of the election tribunal.

But speaking with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, Uche, who is Atiku’s lead counsel, said: “I have been asked about May 29. I want to assure people that swearing in is only a ceremony that does not in any way tie the hands of the court.

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“The taking of oath binds the person who takes the oath and not the court.

“The court has given you its timelines for parties to present their case. We are happy that with the development, the petitions will be expeditiously determined.”

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The electoral act stipulates the tribunal has 180 days to determine the petitions.

This means the court should have rounded up its activities on or before September 16, 2023.