Monday, July 22, 2019 3:52 pm
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Monday fixed Aug. 23, for adoption of final written address in the suit filed by the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and its presidential candidate, Ambrose Owuru, challenging the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The petition, challenging the victory of Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last presidential election, is anchored on the grounds that the rescheduling of the poll from Feb. 16, 2019 to Feb. 23, 2019 was done “without any recognisable presence or existence and or compliance with prescribed statutory conditions to do so.”
They contended that with the rescheduling, the presidential election was deemed “abandoned self-sabotaged and relinquished”, “giving way for the people’s controlled affirmative referendum election” which they said, by 50 million votes, validated Awuru as the elected President.
The respondents to the petition are the Independent National Electoral Commission, President Buhari and the APC.
The five-member tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba, fixed the date after the HDP and Owuru closed their case against Buhari.
Earlier, Mr Eze Maduachuchi, Counsel for the petitioners had led two witnesses to testify while the third witness was barred from testifying.
The barring of the witness by Justice Garba stemmed from fact that counsel for the petitioner failed to attach his deposition to the petition.
Maduabuchi also failed to show proof of his claim that the witness was duly subpoenaed to testify in the matter.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the petitioners thereafter tendered copies of some national dailies which were admitted as evidence.
They also tendered result of the referendum allegedly conducted by Citizen Observers Referendum Election Rights Protection of Nigeria and the final list of presidential candidates published by INEC.
Following the development, counsel for the petitioners informed the tribunal of his clients’ intention to close their case having exhausted their witnesses.
Mr Yunus Usman, SAN, Counsel for INEC, Mr Yusuf Ali, SAN, Counsel for Buhari and Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, Counsel for APC, raised objections to the admissibility of the materials tendered by the petitioners, but reserved reasons to be reflected in their addresses.
Ali, counsel for the president had made an oral application urging the tribunal to fix a date for adoption of written addresses by parties.
The prayer was supported by the rest counsel for the respondents, as according to them, the petitioners had clearly finished their case.
The chair of the tribunal therefore gave petitioners two days to file and serve their address on the respondents.
Garba also ordered the counsel for the respondents to file their addresses and replies to the petitioners’ addresses within two days.
The judge further gave the counsel for the petitioners another two days to reply to the respondents’ replies on point law if the need arose.
He therefore, ordered that all process between parties must be concluded on July 27 preparatory to Aug.5 when all addresses would be adopted.