Leading counsel on Friday launched intense argument as the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) on Friday admitted two video flash drives in evidence brought by Mr Peter Obi through a subpoenaed witness to prove his petition against president Bola Tinubu
Obi and his Labour Party (LP) are petitioners in the petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023 challenging the election which brought president Bola Tinubu into power.
Respondents are Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) president Bola Tinubu and Vice president Kashim Shettima and All Progressives Congress (APC).
The court admitted two video flash drives tendered through a subpoenaed witness of Obi and his Party.
At the resumed hearing of the petition, Levi Uzoukwu, SAN counsel for the petitioners, told the court the proceeding would be conducted by Jubrin Okitepa, SAN.
He said the proceeding would also require soft ware engineering.
A subpoenaed witness from channels TV was called , named Lucky Obowo-Isawode, a reporter and editor.
The counsel informed the court that two subpoenas dated May 30 and June 6 were served on the TV station to produce the video clips.
The video clips, he said, are an interview with the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu .
The second one is that of Mr Festus Okoye National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC.
The respondents counsel are Kemi Pinhero, SAN for INEC ,Akin Olujimi, SAN for president Tinubu and Vice president Shittema.Afolabi Fashanu, SAN for APC .
They all did not oppose the witness but objected to his adoption of his statement on oath.
Olujimi for the 2nd and 3rd respondents objected to the adoption of his witness statement on oath.
According to him, it is against the provision in the Electoral Act.
” It is settled that election petition must be filed within 21 days after the announcement of the election.
” The documents sent out must be accompanied by the petition, list of witnesses and their statements.
” The witness statement was filed today, three months after the announcement of the results ” he said.
He added that he has looked at the pages of petition and did not see the name of the witness.
” The wwitness s not competent to testify before this court, this point have been settled in the decision of this court ” he said.
Pinhero aligned with the submission by Olujimi.
” The petitioners were aware of the videos and ought to have filed it along with the petition as required by the law”
He therefore urged the court to discountance the adoption and uphold the objection.
Fashanu for APC aligned with the submissions of the other respondents ‘counsel.
He added that there is no distinction between a subpoenaed witness and ordinary witness for the purposes of compliance.
He therefore urged the court to uphold the objection and refuse the adoption for void of merit.
Okitepa told the court if there is something to dismiss, it is the objections of the respondents.
” A subpoena we know is an order of the court issued against a person .
” It is not a witness in control of the petitioner or respondent and is competent to testify.
” If a subpoenaed witness can testify orally what injury would we suffer? I submit, none.
” It will rather quicken the hands of justice ” he said.
No injury should be suffered, I therefore urge the court to overrule the objection, you need to see the video.
He told the court that the evidence the subpoenaed witness brought were Live interviews with INEC chairman and Mr Festus Okoye.
The videos flash drive were tendered and admitted in evidence and the counsel prayed that it should be played.
Olujimi objected that it should not be played because the flash drive was not served on them.
He submitted that they don’t know what the contents of the flash drive was, and need to know in other to prepare themselves.
” Having not served us before the proceeding, it would not be in the interest of fair hearing ” he said.
Fashanu for APC aligned with Olujimi while Pinhero for INEC said the video can be played since it is already admitted in evidence.
Meanwhile, the five-member panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani adjourned until tomorrow for the videos to be played and further hearing of the petition.