Kenneth Okonkwo mocks INEC over failure to present witnesses at Tribunal

Labour Party (LP) chieftain, Kenneth Okonkwo has mocked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday. This comes after the electoral body failed to present its witnesses before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal today. INEC, the first respondent in the petition by Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP) before the Tribunal, was scheduled to open its defence today. The electoral body was however unable to do so due to the absence of its first witness. At the mention of the case around 9:30 am, lawyer to INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), told the court that although his client plans to call three witnesses within three days, the one slated for today is unavailable because of some family issues. Lawyers to other parties in the case – Livy Uzoukwu (SAN) for Obi/LP, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) for President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettma, and Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) for the All Progressives Congress (APC), did not object to the request by Mahmoud. This prompted the Tribunal led by Justice Haruna Tsammani to adjourn sitting till Tuesday, 4th July, 2023. Reacting to the development, Okonkwo mocked INEC, saying it is unsurprising that the electoral umpire is having ‘technical glitches’ in presenting witnesses before the tribunal. He further lamented the waste of fuel used in driving down to the court premises for the case. Taking to his Twitter account shortly after the court adjourned sitting, Okonkwo wrote: “Today was slated for INEC to open their case at the Presidential Election Petition Court. Not surprisingly they failed to produce any witness, claiming their witness disappointed them. Must INEC continue to have “technical glitch” even in their own case? What a waste of fuel, which this APC government has raised beyond the reach of ordinary Nigerians like us. The petition is adjourned to tomorrow, 4th July, 2023, for continuation of hearing.” The court would return by 2pm today for the petition by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).