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INEC Speaks On Calling Witnesses Against APC At Tribunal




INEC Speaks On Calling Witnesses Against APC At Tribunal

Sylva Ogwemoh (SAN), the counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, says the commission did not find it necessary to call witnesses.

Naija News reports that the INEC counsel made this comment while speaking to reporters shortly after adjournment on Tuesday, August 27.

The INEC counsel said the burden to prove allegations in the petition rests on the petitioners, a duty they have failed to perform.

This was after the INEC counsel had announced earlier that having considered the petition and the evidence presented before the tribunal, there was nothing on the bench for INEC counsels to stress themselves any further.

According to the INEC counsel, “We have calmly considered the Petition and evidence of the first and second Respondents, we are of the opinion that calling additional witnesses is not necessary.

“In the circumstance, we adopt the evidence of first and second respondents and we rest our case on the case of the first and second respondents,” the INEC counsel said.

On the other hand, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), the counsel to the PDP, closed the defense of the second Respondent after calling 11 witnesses and told the Tribunal they would not call additional witnesses as evidence given by the PDP Witnesses and those of the 1st Respondent were sufficient in the matter.

Jibrin Okutekpa (SAN), counsel to the Petitioners, thanked the tribunal, saying he enjoyed the support of his learned brothers in the case.

Similarly, Chris Uche (SAN), Counsel to the 1st Respondent, registered gratitude to Tribunal for accommodating all Counsels.

On his part, Justice A. M. Yakubu, the Tribunal Chairman, noted that the three-man Panel enjoyed the cooperation of Counsel, adding that the Tribunal is not surprised by the cooperation because of the capacity of the senior counsels involved.

The Tribunal Chairman said the position taken by the Counsel on the final written address was good but for lack of time, he announced five days for filing of written addresses for both Petitioners and Respondents.

Yakubu also said they have three days to file a reply on point of law.

After this, the Tribunal adjourned to September 10, 2019, for the adoption of written address.