The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), on Thursday in Abuja, admonished the legal team of the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, for failing to properly organise its schedule of documents for seamless tendering as exhibits.
Obi and his party filed a petition challenging the outcome of the Feb. 25 presidential election.
At the resumed hearing of the petition, the court frowned at the team’s inability to present its schedule of documents in a manner that would be easy for the court to comprehend.
This led to the court abruptly stepping down hearing in the petition for some minutes to enable the lawyers, led by Prof. Awa Kalu, SAN, to put its house in order.
After resuming from the short break, the presentation of documents being handled by Mr Emeka Okpoko, SAN, still seemed not be have been done in the direction that had been agreed upon during the pre-hearing stage.
This led to the judges asking Obi’s team to take an adjournment and put their house in order before returning to tender the documents.
Specifically, Justice Misitura Bolaji-Yusuf said that the whole exercise of the petitioners was a waste of the court’s time.
“What we have done today is a waste of time. The poor way you have arranged the documents will cause confusion for both of you and the court.
“At this stage, it is better for you to go back and rearrange those documents in a sequence so as to help yourselves and the court.”
Prof. Kalu, however, prayed the court to allow his team tender the documents they had rather than take an adjournment since they had already lost one day.
The court allowed the petitioners to proceed following the appeal after which the petitioners said they would challenge the election results in 18 out of the 36 states.
The petitioners proceeded to tender certified true copies of electoral documents obtained from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in six out of the 18 states whose results they are challenging.
The documents are mainly Forms EC8A, which are election results from polling units.
The documents were admitted as exhibits and marked appropriately by the Chairman of the Court, Justice Haruna Tsammani.
INEC, who issued the documents to the petitioners, objected to all the documents being admitted in evidence.
INEC was represented by Mr Kemi Pinhero, SAN.
Similarly, counsel to President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima who are the second and third respondents and represented by Mr Adebayo Adelodun, SAN, and Mr Afolabi Fashanu respectively, also opposed the admissibility of the electoral documents.
They, however, said that they would give their reasons for objecting to the admissibility of the documents in their final addresses.
A list of the tendered and admitted documents include Forms EC8A from 15 local government areas of Rivers, 23 local government areas of Benue, 18 in Cross River, 23 in Niger, 20 in Osun and 16 in Ekiti.
Justice Tsammani, thereafter, adjourned further hearing in the petition to Friday at the instance of the petitioners.
Obi and his party are challenging the election of President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima on the grounds of electoral malpractices during the Feb. 25 presidential election.