…as PDP set to present 100 witnesses, APC has 39, Labour 50
The Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, on Saturday adjourned the pre-hearing of the petition by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar to Monday, May 22, 2023, for continuation of pre-hearing.
This was after the PDP and Atiku have announced plan to call not more than 100 witnesses to testify in their case before the PEPC.
Their lawyer, Chris Uche (SAN) disclosed this at the resumption of proceedings before the PEPC on Saturday morning.
Uche said the anticipated 100 witnesses will include those already listed and those to be subpoenaed.
The All Progressives Congress, APC and Nigeria’s president-elect, Bola Tinubu also says he is prepared to defend his victory with 39 witnesses in Atiku’s case – one of the three petitions challenging the president-elect’s success at the 25 February presidential election.
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) and the party plan to call 50 witnesses in prosecuting their petition before the PEPC.
Their lawyer, Awa Kalu (SAN) announced this a moment ago in the ongoing pre-hearing session in the petition.
The proceedings of the court are set to enter critical stage of trial, after about two weeks of pre-hearing sessions.
With Mr Tinubu’s inauguration as Nigeria’s next president only about nine days away, the trial is expected to stretch months into his presidency. The entire election petition litigation may not end until December as aggrieved parties still have the right to challenge the outcome of the ongoing proceedings at the Supreme Court.
Atiku is challenging INEC’s declaration of All Progressives Congress, APC’s Mr Tinubu as winner of the last presidential election.
Atiku, a former Nigerian Vice President, accused the electoral umpire and Mr Tinubu of violating statutory provisions that guided the conduct of the recent election.
Two other petitions, one of which is by the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, also levelled similar allegations in calling for a fresh election.
At the resumed proceedings of the Presidential Election Petition Court on Saturday, Atiku’s lead counsel, Chris Uche, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), reeled out the agreements of parties to the suit concerning the number of witnesses to be called, the allotted time for witnesses to testify and the procedures for tendering documents from expert witnesses.
“We intend to call not more than one hundred witnesses. For the time, we want to take three weeks instead of the statutory seven weeks,” Mr Uche said. “We have also agreed to streamline the number of witnesses as well as the duration for each party to call witnesses, subject to ratification by the court.”
Duration for witness to testify
Mr Uche said lawyers to parties in the petition agreed the star witnesses for both the petitioners and respondents would have 30 minutes each to testify.
“We are proposing 30 minutes each for star witnesses, while we are proposing 15 minutes for each respondents for cross-examination and five minutes for re-examination.”
He revealed that other witnesses would take 10 minutes for cross-examination, while re-examination of witnesses would take five minutes.
At the pre-hearing session on Saturday, Mr Tinubu’s lawyer, Roland Otaru, a SAN said Mr Tinubu’s legal team led by Wole Olanipekun would need “nine days” to prove its case.
“The report of any expert witness must be made available to other parties 48 hours before the calling of such witnesses.
“We also agreed that the schedule of documents to be filed by parties must be served on all parties before the calling of witnesses,” Mr Otaru told the court.Follow us on social media