Former Vice President and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has lined up no fewer than 100 witnesses to testify in support of his petition filed against the outcome of the February 25, 2023 presidential election.
But the Independent National Electoral Commission has only two witnesses while the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his ruling All Progressives Congress have 39 witnesses each to defend their victory.
Atiku informed the Presidential Election Petition Court that he would need only three weeks to call his witnesses to prove that INEC erred in returning Tinubu as winner of the disputed election.
Atiku and PDP in their joint petition marked, CA/PEPC/05/2023, are urging the court to among other reliefs, withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the President-elect by INEC.
The petitioners maintained that Tinubu’s declaration as the winner of the presidential election was “invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022”.
They further argued that the president-elect’s election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices, stressing that he was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast at the election.
The PDP presidential flagbearear further prayed the court to declare him the winner of the presidential election, having secured the second-highest number of lawful votes cast at the election.
Lead counsel to the petitioners, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, at the resumed proceedings on Saturday, disclosed that among the 100 witnesses are experts and others that would be summoned by the court to give evidence.
“We may not even exhaust the three weeks because the issues are getting narrower, “ Atiku’s lawyer added.
But the Independent National Electoral Commission, through its lawyer, Abubakar Mahmood, SAN, said it would only call two witnesses.
Tinubu’s lead counsel at the proceedings, Mr Roland Otaro, SAN, disclosed that his client would call 39 witnesses to testify before the court, including other persons he may apply to be subpoenaed to appear before the court.
Counsel to the ruling APC, Mr Solomon Umoh, SAN, said the party would also need two days to call 39 witnesses before the court.