INEC witness absence stalls tribunal hearing in Obi/LP petition

The absence of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, witness on Monday, prevented the commission from opening its defence in the petition by Labour Party, LP, and its Presidential candidate in the February 25, poll, Mr. Peter Obi.

Obi and Labour Party, in the petition are challenging the declaration President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as winner of the February 25, poll.

The Justice Haruna Tsammani led Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja, meanwhile, adjourned till July 4, 2023, for INEC to open its defence.

The tribunal in Abuja had, last week adjourned till Monday for INEC, which is the first respondent in the petition to open its defence of the its declaration of Tinubu, winner of the February 25, poll.

Other respondents are Vice president Kashim Shettima and the APC.

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At the resumed hearing in the matter on Monday, lead counsel to the INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, told the tribunal that, the first defendant has three days to defend the outcome of the February 25, presidential election.

Mahmoud told the court that the electoral body has three witnesses to present in its case and regretted that the witness slated to give evidence on Monday was not in court and asked for an adjournment until Tuesday for INEC to open its case.

He told the court that the electoral body has three witnesses to present in its case and regretted that the witness slated to give evidence was not in court.

He asked for an adjournment for INEC to open its case in the joint petition by Obi and his party against Tinubu’s election.

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The request for adjournment was not opposed by the petitioners and President Tinubu, Shettima, and the APC.

The court, thereafter, adjourned further proceedings in the petition until Tuesday.

Meanwhile, lead counsel to the petitioners, Livy Uzoukwu, SAN expressed sadness, over the prayer for adjournment, though he did not object to INEC’s application for the adjournment.

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

Justice Tsammani adjourned until Tuesday, for the INEC to open their case.

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