President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kassim Shettima and their political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), have finished presenting their defense in the joint petition filed by the Labour Party (LP) and its candidate, Peter Obi.
The three individuals are co-respondents in the LP and Obi’s petition, which challenges their victory in the presidential election held on February 25.
Their legal team, led by Wole Olanikpekun, SAN (representing Tinubu and Shettima), and Lateef Fagbemi, SAN (representing the APC), concluded their defense after submitting several documents and presenting a witness to counter the arguments raised by the petitioners.
Despite objections from the petitioners, the five-member panel of the court, presided over by Haruna Tsammani, admitted the documents as evidence and marked them as exhibits.
The court granted the respondents ten days to file their final written addresses, the petitioners seven days to respond, and five days to reply on law matters.
Justice Haruna Tsammani stated that the date to adopt the final written addresses would be communicated to the parties.
During the proceedings, the president called the Senate Majority Leader, Michael Bamidele, as a witness, and the court recorded his testimony.
Bamidele asserted that the $460,000 forfeiture order against the president, issued by an American court, pertained to a civil matter and could not be equated with criminal charges.
He explained that there was no conviction or sentence against Tinubu, as required by law to initiate criminal charges.
The witness also informed the court that the APC had a shortfall of 10,292 votes in the February 25 presidential election results in Kano state.
Under cross-examination by the APC’s counsel, Fagbemi, SAN, the witness stated that Peter Obi’s name was not included in the membership list of the LP submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Other documents presented and accepted during the proceedings on Wednesday included a letter from the Nigeria Police to the United States Embassy dated February 3, 2003, a letter from the United States Embassy to the Nigeria Police dated February 4, 2003, and US visas and immigration documents from 2011 to 2021.
Tinubu, Shettima, APC Conclude Defense in Atiku’s Petition
In a related development, the president, vice president, and the APC have also concluded their defense in the joint petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The PDP and Atiku are challenging the outcome of the February 25 election, in which Tinubu was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Among other arguments, the petitioners claim that INEC did not adhere to electoral laws, including failing to transmit the election result electronically using the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System and the INEC Results Viewing portal.
They also argue that the president could have secured at least 25% of the votes from the Federal Capital Territory, contrary to the provisions of the law.
During the continuation of the defense on Wednesday evening, the respondents in the petition decided to rest their case after presenting several documents and calling one witness to testify.
Like the Obi case, the court allowed the respondents ten days to file their final written addresses, the petitioners seven days to respond, and five days to reply on legal matters.
In the proceedings, the president again called the Senate Majority Leader, Michael Bamidele.