Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), concluded his case on Friday in the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja, as he seeks to nullify President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s election victory.
Atiku’s legal team, led by Chief Chris Uche, announced the closure of their case, citing the exhaustion of the allocated time for presenting their evidence against Tinubu.
Chief Uche stated, “My lords, at this juncture, we respectfully inform your lordships that this will be our final witness.” He further explained, “Considering that we have utilized the designated time frames, as stated in the pre-hearing report and Paragraph 46(5) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act of 2022, we humbly request to formally close the case for the petitioners.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), represented by Kemi Pinhero, also informed the court that all parties had mutually agreed to postpone the opening of the respondents’ defense until after the upcoming Sallah celebration.
Confirming the agreement, Chief Wole Olanipekun, the lead counsel for President Tinubu, requested the court to grant the respondents, starting with INEC, the opportunity to open their defense against Atiku’s petition from July 3. Chief Olanipekun expressed, “My lords, we have taken several important factors into consideration, including the desire for some of us to travel and celebrate with our families and loved ones. Additionally, there will likely be a two-day public holiday next week. Therefore, we kindly plead with your lordships to adjourn the case until after the Sallah celebration.”
He assured the court that the defense team would adhere to the allocated time and complete their case within the same week. Olanipekun added, “We will begin and conclude our defense within the given timeframe.”
With no objection from the petitioners’ counsel, the five-member panel, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, adjourned the case until July 3, granting INEC the opportunity to present its defense against the petition.
The adjournment followed the discharge of Atiku’s star witness, Mike Enahoro-Ebah, from the witness box. During his testimony, Enahoro-Ebah submitted certified copies of President Tinubu’s academic qualifications, which were admitted as evidence and marked as exhibits.