The LP and its candidate, Peter Obi, are challenging the conduct of the presidential election in which Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The 1st to 4th respondents in the suit are; INEC, Tinubu, the vice-president, Kassim Shettima, and the APC.
The respondents, through their legal representatives on Wednesday, all agreed to the presentation of the national results for all the states and the FCT.
Following no objection from the respondents, the five-man panel of the PEPC headed by Justice Haruna Tsammani admitted the national document as evidence in the petition by Obi.
In the same development, the petitioners tendered, as evidence in support of their petition against Tinubu’s return, form EC8Cs from 13 states: Bayelsa, Benue, Cross-river, Ebonyi, Edo, Lagos, Niger, Ondo, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Ekiti and Delta.
The form EC8C is used for collating election results at the local government level. The results recorded at ward levels are entered into this form. But the respondents, through their counsel, all objected to the admissibility of the form EC8Cs. They informed the court that they would explain the reasons behind their objections in their final written addresses.
However, the court admitted the forms in evidence and marked them as exhibits. Thereafter, it adjourned further hearings on the petition to Thursday, June 8, 2023.
Objection to PDP’s subpoenaed witness
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate in the last election, Atiku Abubakar, called its first subpoenaed witness at the Presidential Election Petition Court on Wednesday.
In a petition marked CA/PEPC/05/2023, Atiku and the PDP are challenging the outcome of the presidential election that produced Tinubu as president.
At the resumed hearing, counsel for the PDP, Chris Uche, SAN, informed the court that the petitioners are set to call their first subpoenaed witness, who is an ad hoc employee of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
However, counsel for the respondents in the case, INEC, Tinubu and the APC, objected to taking the testimony of the witness.
As soon as the witness entered the witness box, and barely before he could take his oath, counsel to INEC, A.B. Mahmoud, SAN, rose in objection to the hearing of the witness.
He informed the court that he was only served this morning with the statement of the witness and, as such, would have to study the statement to enable him to carry out a thorough cross-examination.
Similarly, Tinubu’s lawyer, Akin Olujimi SAN, and APC’s lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, shared the same view and opposed the move by the petitioners.
Responding, Uche argued that there was nothing strange in the statement of the witness to warrant an adjournment.
He pleaded with the court to allow at least one of the subpoenaed witnesses to make judicious use of their allotted time.
The chairman of the five-man panel of PEPC, Justice Tsammani, proposed to stand down the trial for 30 minutes to enable respondents to look at the documents and thereby cross-examine the first subpoenaed witness.
INEC counsel, however, insisted that the witness cannot be taken on Wednesday because the witness “is said to be an Ad-hoc staff of the Commission,” and as such, he would have to go and look at INEC’s records to enable him to prepare properly.
Following the respondents’ assertions, Uche urged the court to adjourn till tomorrow, June 8, for the calling of the three subpoenaed witnesses.
Earlier, the PDP and Atiku called their 11th witness, the PDP chairman, Anambra, Ndubuisi Nwobu, to testify before the court.
The witness told the court during cross-examination by counsel for APC, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, that the results were disputed at the lower levels before they arrived at the state level.
He added that they collated the results because they didn’t have any other alternatives.
When asked if he put that in his witness statement on oath, he said it was not possible to write down everything that happened in the statement.
The court will also continue the hearing in the PDP and Atiku’s petition on Thursday, June 8, 2023.