Presidential poll: Tinubu, Shettima, APC close defence in Obi’s petition


On Wednesday, President Bola Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) concluded their defense in response to the petition filed by Peter Obi and his Labour Party.

Wole Olanipekun, SAN, the counsel for Mr. Tinubu and Shettima, stated that they would be closing their case after presenting their sole witness’s testimony.

Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, representing the APC, informed the court that they would not be calling any witnesses and would rely on the witnesses presented by other respondents.

Following the closure of their defense, the five-member panel, presided over by Justice Haruna Tsammani, announced that the date for the final written addresses would be communicated later.

Justice Tsammani allocated 10 days to each respondent for their written addresses, seven days to the petitioners, and five days for a reply.

During the proceedings, Mr. Tinubu’s counsel submitted several documents in support of their defense. These included letters exchanged between the Nigeria Police and the United States Embassy in 2003, US visas and immigration documents from 2011 to 2021, and a certified copy of the Report of the Committee on the Location of the Federal Capital of Nigeria.

Additionally, copies of Form EC 8D and Form EC 8D(A) for the presidential election held on February 25, 2023, were tendered. Furthermore, a list of registered members of the Labour Party and the membership list of LP for Anambra state were admitted as evidence to support the claim that Peter Obi is not a member of the Labour Party.

After the documents were tendered, Wole Olanipekun called their sole witness, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Michael Bamidele, to testify.

During cross-examination by Fagbemi, the witness confirmed that the presidential election results for the APC in Kano state on February 25 showed a shortfall of 10,292 votes against Tinubu. He also stated that Peter Obi’s name was not found in the membership list of the Labour Party submitted to INEC.

When questioned by Obi’s counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, the witness acknowledged the existence of a report by EU election observers in Nigeria, which was tendered as evidence.

Regarding the letter from the United States Embassy to the Nigeria Police, dated February 4, 2003, addressing criminal allegations against Tinubu, the witness explained that the letter was in response to the Nigeria Police’s request for a search for general criminal records against Tinubu. The US letter, which cleared Tinubu of any criminal convictions, was deemed an appropriate response.

Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, counsel for INEC, stated that they had no cross-examination.

Peter Obi and his Labour Party (LP) are the petitioners in the case with the reference number CA/PEPC/03/2023, challenging the election that brought President Bola Tinubu to power. The respondents are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), President Bola Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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