The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), Abuja, has given Peter Obi as well as Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidates of the Labour Party (LP) and Peoples Democratic Party, three weeks beginning from May 30, to prove their case, challenging the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as winner of the February 25 Presidential election.
A five-member panel of the court, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, conveyed the court’s position to Obi on Tuesday, while presenting the pre-hearing sessions report of the Court on Tuesday.
Recall that Obi, on Saturday, requested seven weeks to call 50 witnesses to prove his case against Tinubu.
According to the court, it arrived at the decision because of the limited time within which the petition must be disposed off.
Justice Tsammani ordered that Obi must open his petition for hearing on the 30th of this month and end same on the 23rd of June.
The Court said to ensure a speedy hearing of the petitions, there would be no oral examination of witnesses and that the adoption of witness statements will be required.
For star (or expert) witnesses, the court also said 30 minutes shall be used for evidence in chief, while 20 minutes will be for cross-examination, and five minutes for re-examination.
READ ALSO: Tribunal Dismisses PDP, LP’s Request For Live Coverage
The Court also ordered the President elect, Bola Tinubu, to defend his victory at the election along with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), within five days.
Obi’s lawyer, Livy Uzoukwu, speaking to newsmen after the court’s directive, said the important thing was that the court has a discretion to determine the weeks parties should use to call witnesses.
“What we have to do is to do case management, Livy said adding that what INEC is doing to them by not making electoral documents available “is very unfortunate.”
“INEC is playing pranks, we wrote letters to INEC saying we want to pay the fees required”, Uzoukwu said, debunking INEC’s claim that LP refused to pay requisite fees.
Uzoukwu alleged that INEC was holding on to electoral materials for manipulation purposes, adding that when the hearing begins, he would subpoena the Commission to produce the electoral materials.
Similarly in a pre-hearing report for Atiku’s petition, presented by Tsammani, it was revealed that 166 witnesses would testify.
While the court granted INEC two days to present its defence, it provided a five-day period each for President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to respond to the petition.
Justice Stephen Adah, who read the pre-hearing report, also noted that Atiku’s petition had been consolidated with the ones filed by Obi the Labour Party’s candidate,and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM).