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Peter Obi Requests Seven Weeks to Present 50 Witnesses at Presidential Tribunal

  • Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s 2023 presidential candidate, seeks seven weeks to call 50 witnesses to substantiate his challenge against President-elect Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the presidential election.
  • Obi’s legal team cited ongoing hurdles with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the reason for the extended timeline.
  • In contrast, Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, plans to summon 100 witnesses in support of his petition, with other parties and INEC proposing fewer witnesses.

In the ongoing presidential election tribunal led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate for 2023, has made a request for a period of seven weeks to call upon 50 witnesses to present evidence challenging the victory of President-elect Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the February 25 election.

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During the pre-hearing session on Saturday, Obi’s lawyer, Awa Kalu (SAN), informed the court of their intention to bring forward 50 witnesses who will each testify for approximately 30 minutes, excluding any time required for electronic demonstrations of evidence.

Kalu explained that the extended timeframe was necessary due to ongoing challenges faced by the petitioners in their interactions with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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The court-ordered forensic examination of the BVAS devices used in the previous presidential election is yet to be conducted, and certain requested documents from INEC have yet to be received.

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Kenneth Okonkwo, a member of Obi’s legal team and a chieftain of the Labour Party, further supported the request through a statement on his Twitter account.

He mentioned that Labour Party and Peter Obi would require the allocated seven weeks to present their evidence, and the court would subsequently rule on the matter.

In contrast, Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is planning to summon 100 witnesses to support his petition before the Presidential Election Petitions Court.

This diverges from the strategies of other involved parties, with INEC planning to call 22 witnesses, Bola Tinubu intending to call 39 witnesses, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) proposing 25 witnesses.

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The suggested modalities for the primary hearing of Abubakar’s petition include granting extended time, ranging from 20 to 30 minutes, for the examination of key witnesses and expert witnesses, some of whom will be subpoenaed to testify under oath.

Chris Uche (SAN), the lead counsel to Abubakar, stated that they would require approximately three weeks to present their witnesses, despite the law allowing for a period of seven weeks.

As the presidential tribunal progresses, the court will assess the requests for witness testimonies from both parties, considering the complexities and timelines involved in the legal proceedings.

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