The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party will on Thursday, close their case at the Presidential Election Petition Court, (PEPC) in their joint petition challenging the outcome of the Feb. 25 presidential election.
The petitioners, according to a pre-hearing report were supposed to close their case on Tuesday.
However, at the resumed hearing of the petition, the petitioner’s lead counsel, Mr Chris Uche, SAN told the court that his clients lost two days out of the days allotted to them and prayed the court to allow them two more days.
The court agreed with Uche because one of the days lost was the Democracy Day Public Holiday of June 12.
Earlier, Uche told the court that in spite of the spirit of cooperation that the court had appealed for, it was still difficult to get Certified True Copies (CTC) of documents from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to him, getting documents from INEC is like asking your opponents for weapons.
He said that they had asked INEC for the Form EC8A series for all 36 states and the FCT but had gotten only 14 batches so far.
The senior counsel said that the documents were brought to them in court by INEC and that although certified by the commission, they had not been sorted out in a proper manner.
“These are forms EC8A series from the 35 states and we will start with Abia, and after tendering it, all parties will come together to ensure that they are sorted out properly’’.
This, however, did not go down well with the court and other counsel.
Mr Kemi Pinhero, SAN, told the court that the documents even though certified, had not been paid for, adding that, it was the responsibility of the petitioners to sort out documents they subpoenaed.
The Chairman of the Court, Justice Haruna Tsammani decided to stand down the matter for about 10 minutes to allow counsel decide on how to proceed.
When the ten minutes elapsed, Uche prayed the court for an adjournment to allow his team prepare a schedule on how to tender the documents to the court on Wednesday.
The court subsequently adjourned hearing of the petition until Wednesday.
Speaking to newsmen after the court session, Uche said that ordinarily, the petitioners would have closed their case on Tuesday.
“We are closing our case on Thursday, it was supposed to end today but because we lost two days, one of which was the June 12 public holiday, the court graciously extended our time by two days.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the petitioners who said during the pre-hearing session that they would call 100 witnesses have called only 25 of them so far.
Uche said that they might call an additional five witnesses to have a round figure of 30 witnesses.
The senior lawyer, however, said that some of the documents they seek to tender in the remaining two days would take the place of the remaining 70 witnesses.
NAN also reports that INEC, President Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress, (APC) are expected to open their case when the petitioners close theirs