PDP, Atiku close case against Tinubu on Thursday

PDP, Atiku close case against Tinubu on Thursday
20th June 2023

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, indicated on Tuesday that they will close their petition against the president, Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, June 22.

The lead counsel to the party and Atiku, Chris Uche, SAN, said this at the resumed hearing in their petition.

In a joint petition, the duo is challenging the outcome of the February 25 election, which produced Tinubu as the elected president as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The petitioners, according to the pre-hearing schedule drafted by the court, were given three weeks to prove their case, which was slated to end today.

However, they were granted two extra days, which they lost in the course of the proceedings for different reasons – one of which was the June 12 public holiday in celebration of Democracy Day.

Although the petitioners stated during the preliminary hearing in the case that they would call a hundred witnesses in aid of their petition, they have so far called only 25.

Addressing newsmen after their session, Uche said, “We are closing our case on Thursday, it was supposed to end today, but because we lost two days, one of which was the June 12 public holiday, the court graciously extended our time by two days.”

He asserted that some of the documents they will tender in the last two days will take the place of the remaining 70 witnesses.

Also at Tuesday’s proceeding, their joint petition came to a premature end following the presentation of unsorted documents before the PEPC.

The court disagreed with their move to tender form EC8A series, that is, polling unit results beginning in Abia State.

According to the court, the documents were not properly sorted.

In his defence, counsel for the PDP, Chris Uche, SAN, told the PEPC that it was difficult to get electoral materials, including Form EC8As from INEC on time.

He asked the court to admit the documents in evidence pending the proper numbering by lawyers for parties and the court registry after the close of the day’s proceedings.

He added that INEC should have properly arranged the documents before bringing them to court in line with a subpoena issued to the electoral umpire.

But INEC’s lawyer, Kemi Pinero, disagreed with Uche’s position.

He said it was incumbent on the parties to arrange the electoral documents given to them by the commission through a subpoena

More so, he said that the documents sought to be tendered by the PDP were brought by INEC’s officials from across the country.

He also stated that, despite producing the documents, the PDP had not paid for its certification.

In response to the back and forth, the Justice Haruna Tsammani – led panel told Uche that it was the duty of his legal team to create a schedule of the documents after INEC had produced them through a subpoena.

After deliberations, the petitioners told the court that the legal team had agreed to take the documents back for arrangement and tendering by tomorrow, Wednesday.

After confirming the agreement of the respondents, the court adjourned the matter to June 21 for the continuation of the hearing.

INEC and others cross-examines Obi’s expert witness

Meanwhile, the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, called a cloud engineer and architect, Clarita Ogar, for cross-examination before the Presidential Election Petition Court in aid of their case against Tinubu.

The witness appeared before the court on Monday, but cross-examination was moved to Tuesday following objections by the respondents based on the late service of the witness deposition by the petitioners.

Led by Patrick Ikweato, SAN, who examined the witness, Ogar informed the court that she was subpoenaed to appear as an expert but not on behalf of Amazon, as she also clarified in her statement.

She insisted during cross-examination by INEC, represented by A.B. Mahmoud SAN, that contrary to claims by the commission, there was no technical glitch in the maintenance stage of the commission’s technical application used in the upload of the presidential election results.

She maintained that glitches could, however, occur at the testing stage of an application and not after deployment at the post-production maintenance stage, as suggested by Mahmoud.

Counsel for Tinubu, Wole Olanikpekun SAN, during cross-examination, put it to the witness that she was the LP’s house of representative candidate in cross-river in the just concluded elections, which she affirmed.

The senior advocate asked the witness to confirm before the court that she also has a case in court against INEC bordering on her inability to upload some information to the commission’s platform in her bid to run for office.

In her response, Ogar argued that network failure could have come from either end, specifically from the side of the person performing the upload and not necessarily the server.

After the witness was discharged, the case of the petitioners could not proceed following their complaints that INEC had refused to give them sensitive documents.

Counsel for the petitioners, Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, lamented that they had subpoenaed INEC almost a month ago to produce the documents but that they deliberately refused to receive the service of the subpoena by the bailiff.

The senior advocate insisted that the electoral body must produce the remaining documents by tomorrow to enable them to advance their case which was slated to end the same day.

The court faulted their argument and questioned them on why they did not take further action following the alleged defiance exhibited by the commission.

The court, headed by Justice Tsammani, adjourned the petition to Wednesday, June 21st, for continuation

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