The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will not call any witness in defence of the petition by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
INEC’s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN) announced this on Monday at the resumption of proceedings before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).
By the court’s schedule, the electoral body was expected to open its defence today.
But when the case was called on Monday, Usman told the court that, having painstakingly reviewed the evidence and statement by the 62 witnesses called by the petitioners, INEC found to reason to call witnesses.Usman said, from evidence elicited from the petitioners’ witnesses under cross-examination, INEC was satisfied that its position that the election was validly held remains uncontroverted.
“We cannot help them to do their case. All their witnesses confirmed our position about the conduct of the election,” Usman said.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari will open his defence on Tuesday at 2pm.His lead lawyer, Wole Olaipekun (SAN) said so after Usman told the court about INEC’s decision not to call witnesses.
The PEPC has altered the scheduled of proceedings in the hearing of the petition, reducing from six to three, the days within which parties are to file their final written addresses.
Presiding Judge, Justice Mohammed Garba said, in view of time constraint, the court has decided to alter its earlier announced schedule.
By the new amendment, the respondents are now allocated three days each to file their final written addresses at the close of evidence, while the petitioners will have three days from the day of service.
The respondents are to have two days to file reply on point of law if necessary.