Presidential Tribunal: they are not ready to defend this case – Peter Obi’s Lawyer slams INEC

Peter Obi’s legal team has lashed out at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This comes after INEC on Monday failed to present witnesses before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Monday. Speaking with newsmen outside the court premises on Monday, the head of Obi’s legal team, Livy Uzoukwu (SAN) said INEC’s action is further evidence that the electoral body is not ready to defend the outcome of the 2023 presidential election in court. Recall that 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. Speaking on the development, Uzoukwu said INEC has demonstrated several contradictions and inconsistencies in the 2023 polls, adding that Nigeria has never had any election like this one. He however added that he stands to be proven wrong. The lawyer wondered why no explanation was given by INEC for the two other witnesses after it cited domestic reasons for the absence of the first witness in court. “I am sure that they are not ready to defend this case. I stand to be proved wrong but I wish they defend this matter so that the public will come to see more things,” Uzoukwu said. ”I continue to say that we have never had an election like this last one,” he added.