• INEC, others object to PDP’s witness

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    The Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate in the last election, Atiku Abubakar, on Wednesday, called their first subpoenaed witness at the Presidential Election Petition Court.

    In a petition marked CA/PEPC/05/2023, Atiku and the PDP are challenging the outcome of the presidential election which produced Tinubu as the president.

    At the resumed hearing, counsel for the PDP, Chris Uche, SAN, informed the court that the petitioners are set to call its first subpoenaed witness who is an Adhoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

    However, counsel to the respondents in the case namely; INEC, Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress objected to taking the testimony of the witness.

    As soon as the witness entered the witness box and barely before he could take his oath, counsel to INEC, A.B. Mahmoud, SAN, rose in objection to the hearing of the witness.

    He informed the court that he was only served this morning with the statement of the witness and as such would have to study the statement to enable him to carry out a thorough cross-examination.

    Similarly, Tinubu’s lawyer, Akin Olujimi, SAN, and APC’s lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, shared the same view and opposed the move by the petitioners.

    Responding, Uche argued that there was nothing strange in the statement of the witness to warrant an adjournment.

    He pleaded with the court to take at least one of the subpoenaed witnesses to make judicious use of their allotted time.

    Chairman of the five-man panel of PEPC, Justice Haruna Tsammani, proposed to stand down the trial for 30 minutes to enable respondents to look at the documents and thereby cross-examine the first subpoenaed witness.

    INEC, however, insisted that the witness cannot be taken today because the witness “is said to be an Adhoc staff of the commission” and as such he would have to go and look at INEC’s records to enable him to prepare properly.

    Following the respondents’ assertions, Uche urged the court to adjourn till tomorrow, June 8, for the calling of the three subpoenaed witnesses.

    Earlier, the PDP and Atiku called their 11th witness, the Anambra PDP chairman, Ndubuisi Nwobu, to testify before the court.

    The witness told the court during cross-examination by counsel for APC, Lateef Fagbemi SAN that the results were disputed at the lower levels before they arrived at the state level.

    He added that they collated the results because they didn’t have any other alternative.

    When asked if he put that in his witness statement on oath, he said it was not possible to write down everything that happened in the statement.

    Vice President Kashim Shettima is also attending the meeting.

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