The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Tuesday closed the pre-hearing session in respect of the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Movement and its presidential candidate in the February 23, 2019, election, Pastor Haminchi Habu, to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the poll.
The five-man tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba adjourned till July 10 for “the presentation of the pre-hearing report” on how to proceed with the substantive hearing, when parties would start calling witnesses.
Justice Garba announced the new date after lawyers representing the various parties to the petition said they no longer had any pending interlocutory application meant for hearing during the pre-hearing session.
Earlier in the proceedings, the tribunal dismissed the applications by INEC and Buhari for the dismissal of the petition.
The petitioners whose case is based on alleged unlawful exclusion from participation in the February 23 election, told the tribunal, through their lawyer, Mr. Aliyu Lemu, that they needed only one day to prove their case.
“My lord we want it to be on record that one day is enough for the petitioners to open and close their case in proving their petition,” Lemu said.
He said the petitioners had scheduled to call two witnesses in addition to one officer of the INEC to be subpoenaed.
INEC, through its lawyer, Mr Yunus Usman (SAN), said his client too would need only one day to call its one witness.
Buhari’s lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), said his team would be calling three witnesses and would require only two days to do so.
The All Progressives Congress, which is the 3rd respondent to the petition, also told the tribunal, through its lawyer, Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN), that it would require three days to present its defence.
He said he had two identifiable witnesses in addition to yet-to-be-determined number of INEC officials to be subpoenaed.