Obi lines up 50 witnesses, demands 7 weeks to present case against Tinubu
Candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, on Saturday, said he has lined up 50 witnesses that would testify and tender evidence to establish that the 2023 presidential election was rigged against him.
Obi, who made the disclosure at the resumed proceedings on the petition he filed to challenge the return of the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said he would require seven weeks to present his case before the court.
Addressing the court through his team of lawyers led by Prof. Awa Kalu, SAN, said he was constrained to demand for the seven weeks, owing the “a few hiccups” he encountered at the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
“My lords, we still have a few hiccups at INEC because of the order that was made by this court on March 8, directing them to allow us to carry out a forensic examination of the BVAS. They have not allowed us.
Election tribunal: Court to consolidate all petitions against Tinubu
The Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) on Saturday directed parties that filed the three surviving petitions before it to consult on their possible consolidation.
In one of the petitions marked CA/PEPC/05/2023, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, its presidential candidate are challenging the outcome of the Feb. 25 presidential election.
INEC declared Sen. Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner.
Respondents in the petition are INEC, Sen. Bola Tinubu and the APC.
The other petitions challenging the outcome of the election are those filed by Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi and one filed by the Allied Peoples Movement (APM).
The PEPC panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani gave the directive on consolidation of the petitions in Abuja after parties involved gave their proposals on modalities to adopt for proceedings.
Tsammani directed the parties to consult and examine if the petitions could be consolidated in consonance with Paragraph 50 of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act.
Paragraph 50 of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act states: “Where two or more petitions are presented in relation to the same election or return, all the petitions shall be consolidated, considered and be dealt with as one petition unless the Tribunal or Court shall otherwise direct in order to do justice or an objection against one or more of the petitions has been upheld by the Tribunal or Court.’’
The court adjourned proceedings till Monday1 for the parties to revert to it on the consolidation of the three surviving petitions.
Earlier, Mr Chris Uche (SAN), counsel for the PDP and Abubakar, informed the court that parties had agreed on number of witnesses to call, time to be allotted for examination-in-chief, cross-examination and re-examination.
He added that the agreement reached was subject to ratification by the court, however.
Uche explained that for star witnesses, parties proposed 30 minutes for evidence-in-chief: 15 minutes for cross-examination by respondents, and five minutes for re-examination.
He added that for other witnesses, 10 minutes was allotted for examination-in-chief; 10 minutes for cross-examination and five minutes for re-examination.
He said that for respondents, 30 minutes was allocated for star witnesses’ evidence-in-chief, 30 minutes for cross-examination while five minutes was allocated for re-examination.
President-elect Tinubu Returns From Europe
President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has returned from Europe where he had been on a working visit for 10 days.
Tinubu’s jet touched down at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, on Saturday afternoon.
On ground to receive him were vice president-elect, Kashim Shettima; Senate President Ahmed Lawan; Senator-elect, Godswill Akpabio, and APC national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, among other party big wigs.
The president-elect had on May 10, 2023 embarked on the trip to France, saying it was to enable him perfect his transition plans with his key aides without undue pressure.
“He will use the opportunity of the trip to finetune the transition plans and programmes, and his policy options with some of his key aides without unnecessary pressures and distractions,” a statement from his media office signed by Tunde Rahman had noted.
The statement further noted that in the course of the visit, Tinubu will also meet with investors and other key allies to market investment opportunities in the country as well as his administration’s readiness to create a business-friendly climate through policies and regulations.
Some Corrupt Political Leaders Planning To Flee Nigeria Before May 29 – Anti-Graft Agency, EFCC Alerts International Partners
The commission in a release obtained by SaharaReporters noted that it was “working in close collaboration with its international partners to frustrate these escape plans, and bring those involved to justice.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said that some corrupt politically exposed persons are planning to flee the country ahead of May 29 inauguration of a new administration.
The EFCC in the statement, titled, “Matawalle $2m Bribe Hoax: EFCC Will Not Bandy Words with Suspect” also reacted to a statement by the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle that indicted its chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa.
“The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been drawn to a trending interview granted to the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, by Bello Muhammed Matawalle, governor of Zamfara State, where he allegedly made wild bribery allegations against the Executive Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa.
“Matawalle’s recourse to mudslinging is symptomatic of a drowning man clutching at straws. But despite the irritation of his phantom claims, the Commission will not be drawn into a mud fight with a suspect under its investigation for corruption and unconscionable pillage of the resources of his state. If Matawalle will be taken seriously, he should go beyond sabre-rattling by spilling the beans – provide concrete evidence as proof of his allegations.
“Again, the Commission wishes to alert the public about plans by some of the alleged corrupt politically exposed persons to flee the country ahead of May 29. The Commission is working in close collaboration with its international partners to frustrate these escape plans, and bring those involved to justice.”