INEC opens defence against Atiku

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will today open its defence against the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. This followed the conclusion of submissions by PDP and Atiku on July 19 during which they called 62 witnesses out of the 400 earlier billed to testify at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.

INEC had contended that the election was conducted in accordance with the Electoral Act while objecting to the existence of a server.
The PDP had claimed that results of the February 23 presidential election were transmitted through a server. Among other issues, INEC had also contended that Atiku and PDP’s petition was incompetent for the non-joinder in the petition of persons listed in allegations of electoral malpractices such as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, military and police chiefs. Counsel to INEC, Yunus Ustaz Usman (SAN) had proposed to call 84 witnesses in six days as agreed with lawyers to Atiku and PDP, Levy Uzoukwu (SAN); Muhammadu Buhari, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and the All Progressives Congress (APC’s), Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) on the schedule and modalities to hear the petition. The petitioners had taken 10 days to conclude their case as agreed in the schedule, while the defence will take six days each.

The parties also agreed that they will spend five minutes to take evidence in chief from ordinary witnesses, while examination of expert and subpoenaed witnesses will take 20 minutes and any re-examination will take three minutes. As part of the guidelines for the main hearing, the parties agreed that every objection to documents tendered in the hearing could be indicated at the point of tendering, but would not be taken until during final address where it would be taken separately.

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