The Allied Peoples Movement, APM, on Monday, said it would produce only one witness to establish its claim that the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, was not the valid winner of the 2023 presidential election.
The APM, which is challenging the outcome of the election, through its lawyer, Mr. S. Abubakar, told the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja that it would, however, adduce enough documentary evidence to prove its petition against the President-elect.
Mr. Abubakar told the court that some of the parties in the petition met last Saturday and agreed on some of the modalities that would be adopted during the hearing of its case, including the time to be allocated for the examination-in-chief of witnesses.
Whereas the parties agreed to give 20 minutes for testimony of star witnesses, they would be cross-examined for 25 minutes while five minutes would be for re-examination.
The petitioner’s counsel equally informed the court that it was agreed that the schedule of documents to be relied upon by parties must be exchanged, he added that a report of expert witnesses must be filed and served at least 48 hours before the hearing.
“My lords our petition basically premised on documentary evidence. It was part of our agreement that if there is any document to be relied on, which is a report of an expert, it must be furnished to parties before the hearing date,” APM’s lawyer added.
On its part, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, through its lawyer, Mr. Kemi Pinhero, SAN, said it would need one day to also present its lone witness.
The APC told the court that it would need five days to call at least one witness, adding that others may be subpoenaed.
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While the President-elect, Tinubu, said he would call three witnesses, the 5th respondent, Aminu Masari, said he would also call a lone witness in the matter.
The APM had in its petition marked: CA/PEPC/04/2023, contended that the withdrawal of Mr. Ibrahim Masari who was initially nominated as the Vice-Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, invalidated Tinubu’s candidacy in view of Section 131(c) and 142 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The party argued that there was a gap of about three weeks between the period that Masari, who was listed as the 5th Respondent in the petition, expressed intention to withdraw, the actual withdrawal of his purported nomination, and the time Tinubu purportedly replaced him with Senator Kashim Shettima.
It further argued that Tinubu’s candidature had elapsed at the time he nominated Shettima as Masari’s replacement.
According to the petitioner, at the time Tinubu announced Shettima as the Vice Presidential candidate, “he was no longer in a position, constitutionally, to nominate a running mate since he had ceased to be a presidential candidate of the 2nd Respondent having regards to the provisions of section 142 of the 1999 Constitution”.
More so, APM, contended that Masari’s initial nomination activated the joint ticket principle enshrined in the Constitution, stressing that his subsequent withdrawal invalidated the said joint ticket.
It, therefore, prayed the court to declare that Shettima was not qualified to contest as the Vice-Presidential candidate of the APC as of February 25 when the election was conducted by INEC having violated the provisions of Section 35 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
“An order nullifying and voiding all the votes scored by Tinubu in the presidential election in view of his non-qualification as a candidate of the APC”.
Likewise, an order to set aside the Certificate of Return was issued to the President-elect by INEC.
It is praying the court voids all the votes credited to Tinubu and declares the candidate with the second highest number of valid votes as the winner of the election.