The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has made a significant decision by rejecting 10 out of the 13 witnesses presented by Peter Obi, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party.
Justice Haruna Tsammani, delivering the judgment on Wednesday regarding Obi and the Labour Party’s petition, highlighted a crucial issue. Only three witnesses, whose statements were submitted with the petition, were considered valid.
In contrast, the remaining 10 witnesses had been subpoenaed, and their witness statements were only provided after the hearings had already begun.
Justice Tsammani underscored the importance of adhering to legal requirements. According to section 285 of the Nigerian constitution, section 137(7) of the Electoral Act 2022, and other relevant provisions, every witness statement on oath must be submitted alongside the initial petition.
He also cited a Supreme Court authority, emphasizing that once the 21-day window for filing an election petition closes, the content of the petition cannot be altered.
Tsammani noted that the petitioners were fully aware of the legal obligations regarding the submission of witness statements on oath but chose to present 10 witnesses without complying with this essential requirement.
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