Presidential Tribunal adjourns to August 21 for adoption of final addresses
Buhari, APC close defence at tribunal
Case adjourned to August 21st for the adoption of final addresses.
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday fixed August 21 for final arguments in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar.
This comes as President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress on Thursday closed their defence in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate.
The PDP and Atiku are by their petition challenging the victory of Buhari and the APC in the February 23, 2019 poll.
Buhari had opened his defence at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Tuesday and had called seven witnesses between then and Wednesday.
He was to continue his defence on Thursday.
But shortly after the matter was called on Wednesday, the President’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), announced to the five-man tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba that his team was satisfied with the seven witnesses they had led.
When the tribunal sought the reaction of the APC’s lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), whom it was his turn to open his client’s defence, he said he and members of his team also found it unnecessary to call any witness.
The Independent National Electoral Commission which is the first respondent did not also call any witness or tender any document.
In all, there were seven defence witnesses against the 62 called by the petitioners.
Buhari, APC Prove How Bad A Case They Are Defending At The Tribunal.
By Tai Emeka Obasi.
In a move not entirely unexpected, Buhari, through his lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, decided to stop further public defense but instead to rely on arguments within the confines of the court to conclude their defense that the incumbent president actually won the February 23, 2019 election.
Chief Olanipekun summed up thus, “It is time to restrict legal dwells within the confines of this court.
“We are therefore very satisfied with the evidence we have led sip far and will wish to close our case.”
Toeing same line, Chief Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, leading the APC team, took the floor, thanked the Petitioners, tongue-in-cheek, for providing enough witnesses that did the third Respondents’ defense via cross-examination and claimed they were very satisfied and that having carefully considered all indices, decided to save the Tribunal the time by equally closing their case.
Responding, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, SAN. leading the Petitioners’ team faced the judges with his usual smile, “My Lords, regarding the events of last two days in this honourable court, these moves by the second and third Respondents are not unexpected. It was predicted because they have to save face.”
The next issue in court became the request by APC to give them from Monday August 5 to Wednesday, August 7 for them to sort out all necessary documents before submitting their final address. Both Buhari and INEC expectedly didn’t object.
However, Dr. Uzoukwu called that if the request of the Respondents should be considered that they, the Petitioners, would require seven days from date of service to present their own final address.
The judges conferred within themselves while the court waited.
The chairman then ruled that both the Requests of the Respondents and the Petitioners have been granted.
“Three days starting from Monday till Wednesday for the Respondents to tie up their final addresses, then seven days from date of service to the Petitioners for the Petitioners to submit their final address. And if need be three more days for the Respondents to respond on point of law.
“This Tribunal is therefore adjourned till August 19.”
“As the court pleases,” came the chorus.
However, Chief Olanipekun pleaded for August 20 and while the chairman asked Dr. Uzoukwu if he was comfortable, the Petitioners lead counsel preferred August 21.
And with all teams agreeing, the Tribunal adjourned to Wednesday August 21, 2019 for adoption of final addresses.
Keep a date for more reports/analysis while the date approaches.