The Independent National Electoral Commission has said it will not call any witness to defend its case against former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party before the Presidential Tribunal in Abuja.
Atiku and the PDP are by their petition challenging the outcome of February 23, 2019, presidential election which INEC declared was won by President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress.
After presenting 62 witnesses, Atiku and the PDP rested their case.
The tribunal, led by Justice Mohammed Garba adjourned further proceedings till today, Monday for INEC to open its defence.
But when called upon by the tribunal to open his case on Monday, INEC’s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN), said it would not be necessary on the grounds that the evidence extracted from the petitioners’ witnesses during cross-examination was in support of the commission’s case.
He said, “We have painstakingly reviewed the evidence of petitioners’ witnesses. We have also painstakingly studied the petitioners’ evidence under cross-examination, which supports our defence and our denial in consonance with our pleadings.
“My lords, we do not see the need to waste your lordship’s precious time by repeating what their witnesses have repeated under cross-examination. In that circumstance, we will not call any witness to help them prove their case. We, therefore, rely on the evidence of their witness under cross-examination.”
Responding, Buhari’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), requested to be allowed to open his client’s case at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday.
APC’s lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said his decision on whether or not to call witnesses would depend on the case to be presented by Buhari’s legal team.
The petitioners’ lawyer, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), thanked INEC’s legal team for not calling witnesses.