The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last presidential election, Atiku Abubakar have hinted plan to conclude the presentation of their case on Thursday before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).
The leader of their legal team, Chris Uche (SAN) disclosed this at the resumed hearing in their petition.
Although the petitioners had, during the preliminary hearing in the case, indicated their intention to call 100 witnesses, they called 25 as of June 19.
While speaking outside the courtroom, Uche said the petitioners could still call five more witnesses to raise the total number of witnesses called by them to 30.
Uche said that some of the documents to be tendered in the remaining two days would take the place of the remaining 70 witnesses.
“We are closing our case on Thursday, it was supposed to end today (Tuesday) but because we lost two days, one of which was the June 12 public holiday, the court graciously extended our time by two days”, Uche told newsmen after the proceedings.
Earlier during Today’s proceedings, Uche applied to tender documents, which he said were handed to them by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) pursuant to two subpoenas served on him.
He tendered 14 bundles of voters register for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), which admission was objected to by lawyers to the respondents.
Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) for INEC, Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN) for President Bola Tinubu, and Afolabi Fashanu (SAN) for the All Progressives Congress (APC) objected to the admissibility of the documents and promised to advance their reasons at the point of filing final written addresses.
The proceedings were however brought to an abrupt end when Uche moved to tender some bundles of certified true copies (CTCs) of election results, which he claimed was brought to them following a second subpoena issued by the INEC Chairman.
The Presiding Justice of the court, Justice Haruna Tsammani noted that the documents were not properly arranged and marked for easy reference.
Uche blamed INEC for the state of the documents, claiming that the commission did not release the materials on time and was reluctant to release the others the petitioners requested.
He added that it was getting difficult for them to get election materials from INEC to prosecute their case, adding: “Getting materials from INEC is like getting weapons from opponents.”
Uche suggested the creation of a separate body to always warehouse election materials immediately after the election to allow easy access to such materials by petitioners.
Responding, Pinheiro faulted Uche’s claim, insisting that neither INEC nor its officials have any reason to withhold election materials from petitioners.
Pinheiro accused the petitioners of not paying the required fees for the certification of the documents they planned to tender.
“The petitioners have not paid for certification. We brought these documents from across the country,” he said.
At a point, the court elected to suspend proceedings for 10 minutes to enable the petitioners to arrange the documents and mark them as required.
When proceedings resumed later, Uche told the court that parties have agreed that the petitioners return home with the documents, prepare a schedule of documents and mark them for tendering tomorrow, Wednesday