The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Wednesday, failed to present any witness to defend the election that produced Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State.
Recall that the candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Chijioke Edeoga, who is challenging Mbah’s victory, closed his case on Sunday.
The matter was then adjourned to yesterday, July 18, for the INEC to open its defense. The case was again adjourned at the instance of INEC when it could not produce any witness.
However, when the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Enugu resumed its proceedings on Wednesday, the commission could not also produce any witness.
INEC through its team of lawyers led by Humphrey Okoli told the court that the commission had decided not to bring any witness.
Okoli said: “The first respondent (INEC) is mandated to open the case. My Lord, after a thorough review of the case, we have decided not to bring in any witness”
Counsel for the PDP, Benjamin Nwosu and that of Peter Mbah did not oppose INEC. The PDP was expected to also open their case.
Though the party expressed its determination to produce witnesses to defend the outcome of the disputed governorship poll, it, however, told the tribunal that it would need an extension of time to enable them bring their witnesses.
Consequently, the PDP counsel, Nwosu, persuaded the tribunal to adjourn further proceedings in the matter for two hours, since, according to him, he had four days to put up defense.
According to the counsel for the PDP, the party would want to call up to nine witnesses to defend their case.
He said, “We are inclined to open our case today. However, we will need two hours to present our witnesses”.
Edeoga’s legal team led by Adegboyega Awomolo, did not oppose the application for an adjournment.
Consequent upon the development, the tribunal, deferred the case for two hours to enable the party to produce its first witness by 11 am today, Wednesday.