General News

PEPT: You’re eating into your time,’ Tribunal warns Obi’s lawyers after seeking adjournment over witnesses’ illness 

The Presidential Election Petitions Court sitting in Abuja has adjourned the case of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, against the electoral victory of President Bola Tinubu, following request for an adjournment by his lawyers.

 

As earlier directed by the court, Obi’s legal team and that of Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party were given 3 weeks from May 30 to present its witnesses (50 witnesses for LP and 100 for PDP) to substantiate their allegations that the 2023 Presidential poll was rigged.

 

Obi’s legal team had presented one witness on Monday while tendering five documents as evidence for now, including a United States District Court judgement on Tinubu’s forfeiture of 460,000 US dollars allegedly linked to drug trafficking.

 

When the court resumed on Wednesday, Obi’s legal team represented by Awa Kalu SAN, asked the court for an adjournment till Thursday on the grounds that two of its key staff members are sick.

 

“My lords, our plan for this proceeding was to start with our presentation of our documents but we have an unexpected development at our secretariat.

 

“The unexpected development relates to illness to two of our key staff for which reason I am constrained to pray for an adjournment till tomorrow morning.

 

“I have before now dropped the hint with Chief Wole Olanipekun,” Kalu said.

 

“With the greatest humility and apology, I assure my lord that tomorrow morning we will be here with vigor, if our application is granted,” Kalu pleaded.

 

A. B. Mahmoud SAN, counsel for INEC, responded in open court that he expected the petitioner’s lawyer to have informed him about the development before the proceedings but he is constrained not to object to the application for adjournment.

 

Responding to counsels, Justice Haruna Tsammani replied, saying if a party is asking for adjournment in a Presidential Election Petition Court, it is “eating into your time.”

 

Wole Olanipekun SAN, who leads the legal team for Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, did not raise objection to the application for adjournment.

 

Following agreement of counsels not to object to the application, Justice Haruna Tsammani adjourned till Thursday.

 

“This petition is further adjourned to Thursday for continuation of hearing,” Justice Tsammani held.

 

THE WHISTLER reports that in line with the 180 days constitutionally stipulated for Tribunals to conclude sitting, judgement on all petitions will take place in September.

 

After the court rose, Kalu told newsmen that the adjournment he sought was not a setback on their case.

 

He said he was confident to produce all his witnesses and evidence within the remaining 19 days given to them by the court.

 

“Never mind, within the time we have, we will conclude our case,” Kalu said.

 

 

 

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