APC closes case against Atiku on the Presidential election at the Presidential Election Petition Court, (PEPC).
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday in Abuja, closed its case against the election petition of Alhaji Abubakar Atiku and the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) at the Presidential Election Petition Court, (PEPC) without calling a single witness.
Counsel to the APC, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, told the court that there was no need ”whipping a dead horse” saying the evidence of President Bola Tinubu‘s sole witness, Sen. Opeyemi Bamide was enough to do damage to the petitioners’ case.
“Having taken a sober reflection of the entire case, we have enough evidence and we are not calling any witness.
” We do not intend to whip a dead horse, we announce the closure of the case of the 3rd respondent, (the APC),” Fagbemi said.
Fagbemi took this position after he cross examined Bamidele who was Tinubu’s star and only witness. witness.
Bamidele who is also a lawyer, told the court that the 460,000 dollars forfeiture judgment tendered in evidence by the petitioners was not strong enough to warrant the nullification of Tinubu’s election.
According to the witness, the judgment of the US court on the forfeiture of 460,000 dollars had Tinubu’s name on it but not as a criminal proceeding but as civil proceeding. The witness insisted that it was not a criminal forfeiture but a civil one.
Bamidele, who is the Senate Majority Leader held that Tinubu was not charged, arraigned, indicted or sentenced for any criminal offence by any court in the United States.
”As far as criminal indictment is concerned, Tinubu has a clean bill of health because he was never indicted and convicted by any court in the United States.”
The witness told the court that he had know President Tinubu for over 35 years adding that in all those years, he knew the president as a bonafide Nigerian citizen by birth.
While answering questions posed by counsel to the petitioners’, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, the witness said that Tinubu did not need to score 25 per cent of votes cast in Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) to be declared winner of the Feb. 25 presidential election.
He also said that the president did not need to win the election in his home state to be declared winner. The witness insisted that Abuja was simply the federal capital city and had no special status attached to it.
He agreed with the petitioners’ counsel that President Tinubu scored 19.4% of the total votes cast in FCT.
The witness who was led in evidence by counsel to Tinubu, Mr Wole Olanipekin, SAN, said a judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in a suit filed by Labour Party on the mode of collation of election results, held that INEC was at liberty to use any mode of collation it deemed fit.
The witness also told the court that he was licensed to practice at the New York Bar in the United States as well. With the sole witness, Olanipekun also announced the closure of Tinubu’s defence against the petition filed by the PDP and Atiku.
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the closing of the defence by Tinubu and the APC marks the end of one phase and takes the case filed by PDP and Atiku to its next phase which is the exchanging of final written addresses among parties and closing arguments.
The presiding judge of the five-member panel, Justice Haruna Tsammani gave the respondents, INEC, APC and Tinubu 10 days to file their final written addresses while the petitioners have seven days to respond and the respondents have another five days to reply on points of law.
Justice Tsammani said that the parties would be communicated on the date for the adoption of the final written addresses.
NAN also reports that Atiku came second in the Feb. 25 presidential election, but he is urging the court to overturn Tinubu’s victory on account of electoral fraud and non-compliance with statutory provisions in the conduct of the election.