On Monday at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it would not call any witness to defend its case against the petition of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
INEC’s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN), told the Justice Mohammed Garba-led tribunal that it was not necessary to present any witness because the testimony by Atiku’s witnesses was in support of the electoral umpire’s case.
He noted that there was no need to waste the time of the tribunal by repeating what the witnesses had repeated during cross-examination.
“We have painstakingly reviewed the evidence of petitioners’ witnesses,” INEC lawyer told the tribunal.
“We have also painstakingly studied the petitioners’ evidence under cross-examination, which supports our defence and our denial in consonance with our pleadings.
“My lords, we do not see the need to waste your lordship’s precious time by repeating what their witnesses have repeated under cross-examination.
“In that circumstance, we will not call any witness to help them prove their case.
“We, therefore, rely on the evidence of their witness under cross-examination.”
In his response, Atiku’s lawyer, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), thanked Mr. Usman for not calling any witness.
“I profusely thank my brother and friend for deciding not to call any witness,” Uzoukwu said.
Consequently, Chief Wole Olanipekun, President Muhammadu Buhari’s lawyer, would open his defence on Tuesday.
The three respondents, INEC, President Buhari, and the All Progressives Congress (APC), had been given six days each to open their defence on Atiku’s petitions.
Since INEC which is the first respondent has decided not to call any witness, the 2nd respondent would open its defence tomorrow, after which the APC through its lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), would also defend its case.
Former VP Atiku and the PDP had vehemently rejected the outcome of the February 23, 2019 Presidential Election. Atiku alleged that based on the results he obtained from INEC server, he won the election with over 1.6million votes.
INEC had however declared Buhari winner of the poll with over 3million votes. The electoral umpire also denied the existence of any server, saying that election results were not collated electronically, but manually as allowed by law.
Naija Buzz News reported how Atiku called his witnesses to prove his case against INEC, Buhari and APC at the PEPT. The petitioner closed its case after the 10 days period given by the tribunal to present its case.
Jonathan Dennis is an Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He oversees the production and publication of stories on NaijaBuzz.News and on Naija Buzz News TV. The former banker left his banking job to join Naija Buzz News in 2019. He was briefly the head of the “Wetin Dey Happen” news team. Jonathan is a proud ‘Akwa-Ibomite’ from Akwa Ibom State, South-South Nigeria.