After 10 days of preparation, INEC’s defence of the February 25 presidential election got off to a shaky start as none of its three witnesses showed up at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja on Monday.
This was in contrast to the court’s scheduled activities and the expectation that INEC, which conducted the contested election, would present its defense.
Abubakar Balarabe Mahmood SAN, the lead counsel for INEC and former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), notified the court of his intention to call three witnesses to counter the allegations made by the Labour Party (LP) and its Presidential candidate, Peter Gregory Obi.
However, he expressed his disappointment that none of the witnesses could be present in court due to personal reasons, which prevented him from presenting his defense.
The experienced lawyer humbly requested the court for understanding and applied for an adjournment of his defense.
On the other hand, Dr. Livy Uzuoku SAN, the lead counsel for Obi, expressed his astonishment and dismay at the behavior of the electoral body.
He informed the court that the INEC lawyer should have informed him beforehand about the proceedings.
However, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, representing President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Prince Lateef Olasunkanmi Fagbemi SAN, representing the All Progressives Congress (APC), did not oppose the request for an adjournment of INEC’s plea to postpone the case.
In response, the presiding Justice of the Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani, scheduled a new date of July 4 for the electoral body.