Plateau state Governorship Tribunal: INEC to Present Two Witnesses.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Said they will present two witnesses against the All Progressives Congress (APC ) and it’s Candidate at the 2023 Governorship Election,Dr. Nentawe Goshwe Yilwada, who is challenging the Victory of Governor Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang of PDP at the polls.
Democracy newsline reported last week that the Petitioners closed their Case,having Presented 49 witnesses.
The Resumption on Monday was for the first respondents,that is INEC to open their defence.
The Senior learned Counsel to the first respondents,S. Atung,SAN said they will commence their defence and filled their schedules of documents.
Atung also inform the tribunal that all parties have been served and it is dated 15-7-2023 and listed therein five documents.
There was an objectiont to the admissibility of the document by the Petitioners Lead Counsel,Prof Kayode Olatoke SAN and they will reserve their arguments to the final written address.
He further stated that, What goes around must surely come around.
While the second and third respondents did not object to the admissibility of the documents.
On the order of responds by the respondents,the Petitioners said is the second and third respondents that should respond first but the learned Senior Counsel to the Second respondent,P.A Akubo SAN address the court on the issue.
Said my Lord,this is our humble submission,once a document is to be tendered from any of the respondents,it is the learned Counsel to the Petitioners that is obliged to respond first.
My Lords,this is Election matter and a civil case.
Election matter that is sui generis and deserves appropriate sequence for documents to be tendered.
I respectively call own your Lordships to uphold this application.
The third respondents through her Counsel M.Y Mika, associates themselves with the submissions of the Counsel to the second respondents.
In his submission,the Counsel to the Petitioners, Professor Kayode Olatoke, said the submission of the learned Senior Counsel to the Petitioners, is grossly misconceived and same will not give fair trial to the petition.
According to Olatoke,When any of the respondents is tendering documents,the other respondents ought to indicate or respond to the application of tendering before it becomes to the turn of the Petitioners.
The argument this morning is Baseless in view of the earlier proceedings of the tribunal and the record of the court will bear witness.
At the time that first respondents tendered documents,it was the respondents that replied first.
I urged my Lordships to discontinuance the submissions of the respondents.
Their application will be prejudice to the petition, because the respondents all have same interest.
Having listen to all the submissions,the tribunal rise for some minutes and later resumes for continuation of trial.
At the Resumption,
Ruling was delivered and ordered the second and third respondents to respond first before the Petitioners.
The Documents were admitted and marks as Exhibits 1R,1RB,1RC,1RD,1RE and 1RF accordingly.
As the ground was set for the first repondents to proceed with their defense and call her witnesses,
The tribunal was told by the INEC Counsel,S.Atung SAN that they have difficulties in getting their witnesses to court because some staff were deployed.
According to him,they need up to 7 days to assemble their witnesses because,some of them are equally testifying in other matters.
The Counsel also notified the court that they will present only two witnesses in the case and they will close their case same day they present the witnesses.
The tribunal called all lead Counsels in the matter for a brief discussion and later adjourned the matter to the 15-8-2023, for the first Respondents to present their witnesses.
Unlike the Petitioners that had the luxury of three weeks to prove their petition.
Respondents are entitled to ten days each to open their defense.