Peter Obi, Labour Party Call First Witness, as Tribunal Adjourns

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The Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, have opened their petition against President Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), by calling one witness out of the 50 proposed.

Before the witness, who is a lawyer and hails from Anambra testified, counsel to Peter Obi, Jibrin Okutepa, tendered a judgement from a district court in the United States, which reportedly indicted Tinubu and ordered his forfeiture of $460,000 in drug-related offences.

The Presidential Election Petitions Court reconvened after a week on Tuesday to begin the definite hearing in the petitions by the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP), alongside their parties, challenging Tinubu’s victory in the February 25 election.

The hearing commenced, led in evidence by Okutepa, with an Anambra-based lawyer and LP witness, Lawrence Nwakaeti, tendering the certified true copy of the US district court judgement.

After cross-examination, counsel to Tinubu, Wole Olanipekun, said the witness admitted that the judgement was not registered in nigeria.

The lawyer also admitted that there was no certificate from any consular in Nigeria or America in support of the judgement but insisted that the judgement speaks for itself.

He claimed to have read the whole judgement in America, adding that he would be surprised if no mention was made of $460,000 forfeiture.

Under cross-examination by counsel to APC, Lateef Fagbemi, the witness said the American court judgement had no certificate given under the hand of any American police officer.

He denied knowledge of a February 4, 2003 formal clearance report by a legal attaché from the American embassy in respect of the alleged indictment and forfeiture.

The counsel for Atiku abubakar and the PDP, Eyitayo Jegede, tendered all exhibits, including INEC certified true copies of declaration of results, summary of results, printout of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) report for each polling unit in the 36 states, and number of PVCs collected in all the states, including the FCT.

The court also adjourned hearing of the petition of the Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM) to June 2 to give it time to to look into the certified true copy of the Supreme Court judgement of May 26 on the controversy surrounding the “double nomination” of Vice President Kashim Shettima, and see how it affects their petition.

Among those present in court to witness the day’s proceedings was LP’s Obi, while his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed; and the former Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, were first-time callers. 

Keyamo joined the President’s team of lawyers, as senior lawyers were seen in the fully occupied courtroom, earlier, discussing in groups ahead of the sitting.