Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Weekly Updates ~ Ibu Thomas
Tribunal further deliberated on preliminary issues bothering on the petitions filed by the legal team of the PDP and Atiku/Obi, following the fraudulent outcome of the February 23, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
+ Adopting all the pre-hearing proceedings
+ Suggestions on Timelines for petitioners to present their cases and for respondents to reply.
+ Timelines and number of witnesses to be presented by counsel
+ Timelines for witnesses, cross examinations
+ Time schedule for main trial and presentation of final addresses by parties, etc
Wednesday July 3, 2019
The Tribunal ruled on a counter affidavit titled *Right to fair hearing* filed by the PDP and Atiku/Obi legal counsel, challenging the June 11, decision of the 3rd Respondents (APC).
The APC had filed two separate motions carrying the same subject matter, replying to an application of PDP and Atiku/Obi, but later came to court on June 11, 2019 and withdrew one of the motion, (reply) especially the one the PDP replied to and adopted the motion the PDP did not replied to.
The PDP and Atiku/Obi legal team as of the time the APC withdrew the said motion, had no time available by law to respond to the said motion the APC later adopted
The tribunal however dismissed the counter affidavit filed by the PDP and Atiku/Obi legal team. While delivering the ruling, the trial Judge, Justice Mohammed Garba informed the court that the tribunal is Yet to take decision on the said motion adopted by the APC and described PDP’s counter affidavit as lacking in merit and ill conceived.
The Tribunal later suspended all pending rulings on other applications filed by counsel during the preliminary hearings and adopted Thursday July 4, as the day to kickstart main hearing (Presentation of evidence, witnesses by counsel)
Thursday July 4, 2019
Professor Ben Nwabueze, renowned constitutional lawyer appeared in court on a wheelchair, leading the legal team for the PDP and Atiku/Obi
During proceedings, he declared that the determination of the petition will certainly impact on future elections and constitutionalism in Nigeria.
He concluded that notwithstanding his age and attendant health challenges, he had to attend the proceedings to underscore the importance of the Case.
Tendering of Evidence
The Real Fireworks
In accordance with earlier adopted proceedings for the main hearings, the Trial Judge called the PDP and Atiku/Obi to present its case.
The 1st Respondent, INEC objected, saying that the proposed schedule was not known to them, called for the court to reschedule in order for them to prepare.
The Tribunal however ruled that the schedule was agreed by all the parties and moreover that the request to present evidence was made by the PDP and Atiku/Obi’s counsel over two months ago. The Tribunal ruled in favour of the PDP and the presentation of evidence continued
Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, PDP lead counsel opened evidence with Niger state. He later presented that of Jigawa before the court adjourned to Friday July 5, 2019.
Atiku Abubakar, Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his Party, the PDP on Friday tendered a total of 26,175 exhibits against the February 23, 2019 election that produced Muhammadu Buhari as President and in support of his petition seeking nullification of the election on grounds of fraud, election malpractices and non qualification of Buhari to stand for the poll.
Friday July 5, 2019
The PDP and Atiku/Obi continued with presentation of evidence from Yobe, Kebbi, kaduna, Bauchi and others. Evidences from 8 states were presented between Thursday and Friday.
All the evidences, receipts presented by the PDP and Atiku/Obi lead counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu were admitted as exhibits in court, though rejected by all the respondents.
During presentation, one of the receipt for the certification of documents for Kaduna state had issues with dates. The date on the receipt was July 11, 2019 and it was presented on July 5, 2019. The matter was discussed in court and further clarifications made.
The breakdown of the documents indicated that 3,378 came from Katsina; 2,106 came from Kebbi; 3,472 from Borno; 3,162 from Jigawa; 1,912 from Gombe; 3,539 from Bauchi; 3,335 from Kaduna and 5,271 came from Kano.
Uzoukwu, Atiku’s lawyer told the tribunal that his team will begin to call witnesses at the end of tendering of documents by the team.
The tribunal adjourned to Monday July 8, 2019.