Presidential Tribunal: Witnesses absent as INEC’s defence of Tinubu’s victory starts on shaky note

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On Monday the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja began its defence of the February 25 presidential election on a shaky note, with none of its three witnesses present at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).

Contrary to the scheduled activities of the Court, INEC, which conducted the disputed election and billed to open defence, came to the court without any witness.

INEC lead counsel and former President of the Nigeria Bar Association NBA, Abubakar Balarabe Mahmood SAN, informed the court of his plan to call three witnesses to counter the allegations of the Labour Party (LP) and its Presidential candidate, Peter Gregory Obi.

He, however, lamented that none of the witnesses was in court due to domestic reasons for him to open the defense.

The senior lawyer pleaded with the court to bear with him and applied for adjournment of his defense.

However, lead counsel to Obi, Dr Livy Uzuoku SAN, expressed shock and surprise with the conduct of the electoral body.

He told the court that the INEC lawyer ought to have taken him into confidence before the commencement of the proceedings.

However, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, who stood for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Prince Lateef Olasunkanmi Fagbemi SAN, who represented the All Progressives Congress (APC), did not object to request for adjournment of INEC’s plea for the case to be shifted.

Presiding Justice of the Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani, subsequently fixed a new date of July 4 for the electoral body.

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