• Saturday, March 02, 2024
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Nwabueze leads Atiku’s counsel to tribunal on wheelchair

Ben Nwabueze

Eighty-seven-year-old constitutional lawyer, Ben Nwabueze, appeared on wheelchair on Thursday as lead counsel for Atiku Abubakar, the People’s Democratic Party’s presidential candidate at the February 23, 2019 election, at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

Atiku and the PDP are challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) at the poll. They started calling their witnesses at the tribunal on Thursday.

Nwabueze, a professor of law, who was earlier wheeled into the courtroom, appealed to the court to be allowed to be seated while addressing the bench, and his request was granted.

Having challenges pronouncing the names of his co-lawyers as he (Nwabueze) was barely audible, Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), who had been leading the counsel, came to the rescue.

Nwabueze eventually handed over the role to Uzoukwu to continue with the presentation.

After the announcement on appearance was over, Nwabueze spoke briefly, thanking the tribunal for granting him his first request.

He said despite his age, he attended the proceedings to show how the case was important to everyone.

Nwabueze said the outcome of the election tribunal would have a memorable influence on future elections in Nigeria.

While describing his submission as “short remarks”, Nwabueze prayed the court to allow justice to prevail as the determination of the case would be impactful on Nigeria’s democracy.

“The determination of the petition will certainly impact on future elections and constitutionalism in the country,” he said.

After asking for permission to leave the courtroom on his closing remarks, Nwabueze left the Court of Appeal, venue of the tribunal sitting.

Recall that Nwabueze had endorsed Atiku in the build-up to the 2019 elections, saying in one of his remarks that he would not die until Atiku becomes the president.

Meanwhile, Uzoukwu, who took over the leadership of the petitioners’ legal team, announced that his team would be starting the case with Niger State.

On the defendants team were Yunus Usman (SAN) who announced his appearance as the lead counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mike Igbokwe (SAN) for President Muhammadu Buhari, and Yakubu Maikyau (SAN) for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

About 50 boxes containing electoral materials from Niger, Jigawa, Kebbi, and Yobe States have been brought into the court.

Earlier, the respondents had objected to the admissibility of some of the documents presented by the PDP.

The respondents argued that they were not expecting documents from four states in the hearing on Thursday.

Mohammad Garba, the tribunal chairman, overruled the objection on the ground that the parties had agreed to start hearing on Thursday, more so that the documents were already listed in the court processes.

 

MAURICE OGU