Justice Haruna Tsammani has ruled that the case be adjourned to Friday 19th May for further hearing and that pre-hearing ends on Sunday. This action follows the lamenting of Peter Obi’s legal team over the lack of access to essential documents.
Justice Tsammani also stated that the reason is to again allow parties to file and agree on all documents to be objected to and not to.
Regarding the issues that led to the adjournment, Levi Uzoukwu, Obi’s legal team lead told Justice Tsammani that he wrote to A.B Mahmoud, counsel representing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) soliciting for his help as he explained the insistence of INEC’s refusal to provide the documents but there was no response from them
Levi said in addition to the order, his team wrote five letters to INEC which were all ignored, and they need to file an application mandating INEC to provide the documents.
However, Justice Tsamani noted that was not the business of the court if INEC denied Levi access to the documents. To this end, Levi resolved to file an application that would mandate INEC to produce the document.
Mahmoud in response said that he contacted the other counsels and there was an agreement to set up a team comprising counsels from all sides to manage the process and inspect documents that will be tendered without objection during the proceedings.
The team, he said was supposed to meet on Monday and Tuesday but he was told on Monday that the Labour Party’s legal representatives were not available, and he called Levi who said he was not aware his team was supposed to be there.
Mahmoud asked that they reschedule to 3 pm but Levi said they won’t be available so a meeting was scheduled for 10 am on Tuesday.
Regarding the inability to access documents, particularly from Sokoto and Rivers, Mahmoud revealed that Sokoto requested N1.5 million before they release the requested documents.
Wole Olanipekun, the team lead for Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s legal camp alleged that Levi and his team walked out on the meeting schedule for identification of documents, and did not respond to the motions served.
Olanipekun said during the meeting on Tuesday which started around 10:30 am, the Labour Party team walked out of the meeting after they said they won’t be a part of the meeting if all the documents are not available.
He told the court that will Onyeukwu’s team will be the one to delay the court proceedings.
Levi Onyeukwu however countered the allegations and said his team did not walk out of the meeting, AB Mahmoud, counsel to INEC, said Obi’s lawyer is not willing to pay for the cost, and that is why he is yet to get the documents.
But, Levi said his party is more than ready to pay for the documents, but INEC is just unwilling to make them available, and the ones made available are not really what they requested, or even relevant.
Justice Haruna Tsammani has ruled that the case be adjourned to Friday 19th May for further hearing.
Levi, in an interview with journalists, alleged that INEC is against the live coverage, denying citizens access to proceedings, and wondered what INEC had to hide.