There was another rowdy session at the Presidential Election Petition Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday with the five-man panel of the court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani openly describing the conduct of the lawyers representing the presidential candidate of the Labour party, Peter Obi, as “not being organised”.
THE WHISTLER reports that the PEPC gave Obi’s legal team and that of Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party, 3 weeks from May 30 to present their witnesses…..CONTINUE READING
Recall that Obi’s legal team had on Wednesday asked for an adjournment in their petition disputing the electoral victory of President Bola Tinubu, after informing the court that two members of their secretariat staff were ill.
Obi’s legal team presented one witness on Monday while tendering five documents as evidence, including a United States District Court judgement on Tinubu’s forfeiture of 460,000 US dollars allegedly linked to drug trafficking, despite objections from the Independent National Electoral Commission.
At the resumption of proceedings on Thursday, Obi’s legal team represented by Chief Emeka Okoko, SAN said he would first tender INEC Forms EC8As for 23 Local Government Areas of Benue State.
But the panel told him that his schedule of documents showed Forms EC8As for Benue State LGAs but was not itemized according to polling units in line with rules of court.
Okoro started reading out the documents for the LGAs in Benue State but the panel advised him, saying if Obi’s team should continue to tender documents LGA by LGA, its 3 weeks’ timeline would elapse before they’re done.
It recommended that the petitioners should put polling unit results for the states serially according to the LGAs.
Okoro then admitted that he had another informal schedule of documents that itemized the electoral documents for states and LGAs properly.
Subsequently, the court stood down proceedings for ten minutes, directing Obi’s legal team to reproduce another formal schedule of documents and ensure they do not “waste time unnecessarily.”
When the court resumed, Okoko apologized for his earlier conduct.
He then said he wanted to restart tendering INEC’s Form EC8As beginning with 21 LGAs in Rivers state.
He read out electoral forms for 16 LGAs in Rivers state including Adoni, Imoha, Ahoda West, Ikwere.
When he was done, the panel told Okoro that he only mentioned documents for 16 LGAs in Rivers state and not 21.
Okoro looked back to a junior lawyer and repositioned again to tell the judges that for Rivers state, they only have 16 LGAs to tender for now.
His response did not go down well with the judges.
“The problem is, your things are not properly organized,” Justice Haruna Tsammani said.
The judge then advised the petitioners to seek adjournment to organise themselves.
“Learned silk, we are not trying to teach you your job. Why not take an adjournment, go back to your chambers and organise things. These your documents are not well prepared. This proceeding is not being properly conducted,” the judge said.
“What we have done today is a waste of time,” another member of the panel told Okoro.
“Why not take what we have said seriously. Well, it is your case,” another judge advised.
But Justice Stephen Adah asked Obi’s lawyer to “move on if you want to.”
The court then asked Awa Kalu SAN, who is number two in Obi’s legal team, which number of INEC Form EC8As they intend to tender today for Rivers state.
Kalu said 16 and the court noted it.
Kalu also told the court he would not call for adjournment as requested by them since he asked for one yesterday, Wednesday.
He pleaded with the court to accept whatever electoral materials they had to tender for today and eventually took his seat.
Okoro then took over and tendered Form EC8As for Osun State (20 LGAs marked as PF1- PF20) and Ekiti State (16 LGAs marked as PG1- to PG16), INEC Form EC8As (for 16 LGAs) for River State, Benue(23 LGAs), Cross River state( 18 LGAs) and for Niger state but it was objected to by the respondents.
Obi’s legal team then asked for adjournment to continue their presentation of documents.
The court subsequently adjourned.…