Tinubu, Shettima, APC Close Defence In Atiku’s Petition

President Bola Tinubu, the Vice President, Kassim Shettima, and his party, the All Progressives Congress have closed their defence in the joint petition by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

The PDP and Atiku are also challenging the outcome of the February 25 election wherein Tinubu emerged as president as declared by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Among other grounds, the petitioners contended that INEC did not comply with the electoral laws including failure to transmit the election result electronically using the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System and the INEC Results Viewing portal.

They also argued that, contrary to the provisions of the law, the president failed to poll at least 25% of votes from the Federal Capital Territory.

During the resumed hearing in their defence on Wednesday evening, the respondents in the petition proceeded to close their case after tendering several documents and calling one witness to testify in the matter.

As in the case of Obi, the court gave the respondents 10 days to file their final written addresses, the petitioner 7 days to respond and 5 days to reply on point of law.

During the proceedings, the president again called the senate majority leader, Michael Bamidele as their sole witness.

Under cross-examination by counsel for the APC, Fagbemi, SAN, the witness affirmed that the president was not charged with any criminal offence by any American court.

This was about the widely circulated court affidavit from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division on civil forfeiture proceedings against Tinubu concerning $460,000.

However, the witness affirmed that “there can’t be a conviction without a charge, arraignment and defence.”

He said the president has a clean bill of health as far as criminal charges in the USA are concerned.

He further affirmed the statement by the senior advocate that the president is a citizen of Nigeria by birth.

More so, he affirmed the statement put to him by Fagbemi, SAN, that the court ruled following a suit by the LP that INEC had the liberty to determine the mode of collation of the election results.

Under cross-examination by counsel for the PDP and Atiku, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, the witness argued that scoring 25% votes in Abuja was not a mandatory requirement for the office of the president.

But supporting his point that the FCT has a special status concerning the presidential elections and that a president must poll up to 25% of the entire votes to meet the requirement for the apex office, Eyitayo, SAN, said, ” The first respondent will be the first president to emerge without 25% in the FCT.”

He went on to tender a publication by Vanguard newspaper wherein the APC kicked against the deployment of the BVAS and IReV for the elections.

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