The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal on Monday admitted in evidence True Certified Copies of election results sheets from eight states in the petition filed by Peter Obi and the Labour Party challenging the outcome of 2023 presidential election.
The result sheets contained in Forms EC8A were tendered from the bar by Ben Anachebe, counsel to Obi, from 13 Local Government Areas in Ebonyi state, 13 LGAs in Nasarawa state, 25 LGA’s in Delta state, 23 LGA’s in Kaduna state, 27 LGAs in Imo state, 18 LGAs in Ondo state, 7 LGAs in Sokoto state, and 21 LGAs in Kogi state.
The court admitted the documents despite opposition from the legal team of Independent National Electoral Commission, President Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress.
Prior to tendering the documents, Patrick Ikwueto, Obi’s lawyer said the petitioners had filed and application on May 22 seeking leave to serve interlocutories, containing 12 questions on the first respondents, the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“On the 2nd June, we filed application for my Lords leave to enable us hear the motion we filed 22nd May outside the pre- hearing session. I seek my lord directive to allow the application which in our view is innocuous.”
Counsel to INEC said, “We will oppose the motion of June 2, and will file a response to that. As regards the that May 22, we have already filed a response on the 25th May. I will be opposing the two motions. I need to respond to the motion of 2 june which was served on us late Friday evening, so that motion is not ripe for hearing.
The trial should go on, we have passed the stage of interlocutory. It is a waste of time, they had ample time to file it.
Justina Haruna however said, “we are not arguing the usefulness here.
Obi’s lawyer said the application does not concern other respondents. But Justice Haruna said they are parties to the petition, so it concerns them. He said hearing on the motion can be heard after all respondents reply.
When Obi’s legal team proceeded to tender documents, Lateef Fagbemi, counsel to the APC decried the petitioners disregard for the guidelines contained in the pre-hearing report concerning scheduling of documents.
“We were served the third schedule of documents only 10 mins ago before the court began sitting”, he said.
“The time has come for the your lordship to apply the guidelines in pre hearing report strictly”, he added.
Justice Tsammani warned Obi’s team of lawyers against late scheduling of documents. Ikwueto said, “We are sorry for the obvious tardiness, it shall not repeat.”