INEC Unable To Open Defence Over Witness’ Absence At Tribunal

INEC, which is the first respondent in the petition by the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, was scheduled to open its defence today.


FILE PHOTO: Lawyers troop in for the pre-hearing at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja on May 8, 2023. (Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television)

 

A witness of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was absent at the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) on Monday, setting back the electoral body’s commencement of defence at the ongoing proceedings.

INEC, which is the first respondent in the petition by the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, was scheduled to open its defence today.

The petitioners are challenging the emergence of President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25 election.

At the resumed hearing, counsel to INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud, told the court that he planned to call three witnesses within three days, but the one slated for the day’s hearing was unavailable due to some domestic issues.

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He subsequently applied for an adjournment till Tuesday to enable the witness to attend court.

Counsel to other parties did not object to the request by INEC’s counsel.

The Chairmen of the panel, Justice Haruna Tsammani, subsequently adjourned till 9 am on Tuesday for the hearing.

INEC is also expected to open its defence at 2 pm in the petition by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.