Absence of INEC witness stalls defence of Obi petition Monday

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) told the Presidential Election Petition Court on Monday that it was unable to secure a witness to open its defense of Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP), petition.

The announcement stalled the hearing of Mr Peter Obi/ LP petition before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) on Monday as the court adjourned abruptly.

INEC conducted the February 25, 2023 general election and declared President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the election.

Dissatisfied with the result Obi and his Labour Party (LP) filed a joint petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023 challenging the process which brought President Bola Tinubu into power and joined INEC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu/Shittema and All Progressive Congress (APC) as respondents.

The petitioners were given 21 days to prove their case against the respondents before the court.

They told the court that they would call 50 witnesses to prove their case but at the end of the 21 days Obi and LP called 13 witnesses and tendered volumes of INEC-certified documents including election results sheets and I-Rev reports and closed their case on June 23.

Due to Sallah holiday the Presidential Election Petition Court adjourned the petition till July 3, 2023 to enable the respondents, particularly INEC the 1st respondent to to open its defence .

At the resumed hearing of the petition on Monday, INEC who was to open their defence through its counsel, Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN told the court they have three witnesses to defend their case.

He however, added that only one supposed to be in court today but due to some sudden pressing domestic issues could not make it to the court.

He said the three witnesses would be taken for three days and prayed the indulgence of the court to adjourn the petition till tomorrow.

The petitioners ‘ counsel Livy Uzoukwu, SAN expressed sadness, however did not object to INEC ‘s application for adjournment.

Other respondents counsel, Wole Olanipakun, SAN for Tinubu and Shettima and Lateef Fagbemi, SAN for APC also did not object to the request for adjournment.

The five-member panel presided over by Justice Haruna Tsammani adjourned until tomorrow for the INEC to open their case .