Nigeria’s new president Bola Tinubu, his Vice Kashim Shittema and the All Peoples Congress (APC) on Wednesday closed their defence in Mr Peter Obi and his Labour Party’s petition.
Counsel for Tinubu and Shettima, Wole Olanipekun , SAN informed the presidential election petition court (PEPC) that they are closing their case after the testimony of their sole witness.
Lateef Fagbemi, SAN for APC also informed the court that they have no witness and relied on the witnesses called by other respondents. Following the closure of their defence the five-member panel presided over by justice Haruna Tsammani said date for the final written addresses would be communicated.
Tsammani assigned 10 days each is given to the respondents, seven days to the petitioners while five days for reply. Earlier, Tinubu through his counsel tendered some documents in support of their defence.
The documents tendered are letter from the Nigeria Police to the United States Embassy, dated February 3, 2003; letter from the United States Embassy to the Nigeria Police, dated February 4, 2003.
Others are; US Visas and immigration documents between 2011 and 2021. Others are; A copy of Report of the Committee on the Location of the Federal Capital of Nigeria, certified by Archives and History Bureau of the FCT. Tendered also are copy of Form EC 8D for Kano State in respect of the February 25, 2023, presidential election; and copy of Form EC 8D(A); copy of Form EC8D in respect of the presidential election of 25th February, 2023.
Also tendered and admitted were a list of register membership of the labour party and membership list of LP for Anambra state to claim that Obi is not a member of the labour party. After the tendering of documents, Olanipekun called their sole witness, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Michael Bamidele to testify.
Being cross examined by Fagbemi, the witness told the court that the February 25 presidential election results for APC in Kano state were recorded with a shortfall of 10, 292 votes against Tinubu. He added that Obi ‘s name was not contained in the membership list of the LP submitted to the INEC.
Being cross examined by counsel to Obi, Dr Livy Uzoukwu, SAN the witness agreed that there a report by the EU election observers in Nigeria and it was tendered through him in evidence.
On whether the letter from the United States Embassy to the Nigeria Police, dated February 4, 2003, address issues of criminal allegation against Tinubu, the witness said the Nigeria police letter to the US requested for search for general Criminal records against Tinubu.
He added that therefore the US letter which cleared Tinubu of criminal conviction was an appropriate response. Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN counsel for INEC told the court that they have no cross examination.
Obi and his Labour Party (LP) are petitioners in the petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023 challenging the election which brought President Bola Tinubu into power. Respondents are Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) president Bola Tinubu and Vice president Kashim Shettima and All Progressives Congress (APC.