The Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, during Thursday’s proceedings at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, presented Eric Ofuegbu, a professor of Mathematics at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, as their 4th witness.
The petitioners challenging the election of President Bola Tinubu in the February 25 presidential election, also presented the ARISE News Director of Operations, Lummie Edevbie, as a subpoenaed witness and 5th overall witness for the petitioners so far, according to ARISE News.
However, Abubakar Mahmoud, the lead counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) informed the Court that he had just been served the statement of the witness, Ofuegbu, on Thursday morning (today).
The counsel for INEC argued that bringing the witness on short notice leaves the legal team of the electoral commission at a disadvantage.
He described the action of the counsel for the Labour Party as an ambush and urged the Court to step down the witness to give his team adequate time to study the witness’ statement.
But Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the lead counsel for President Tinubu, said that he had no problem allowing the witness to give his testimony.
Olanipekun however stated that standing down the witness for a few minutes would not be out of place.
But the INEC lawyer interjected and said that the legal team of the electoral body would need about 48 hours, based on the pre-hearing report, to study the statement of a star/expert witness.
He, therefore, urged the Court to grant his prayer.
The Chairman of the Court, Justice Haruna Tsammani, in a short ruling stated that in the interest of justice and fair hearing, the witness would be led in evidence on Thursday while cross-examination will be held on Friday.
Meanwhile, part of Ofuegbu’s statement is data analysis of the presidential election results of Benue and Rivers states.
The statement also included blurred 18,088 polling unit results of the election.
The Labour Party also tendered a letter dated February 20, 2023, showing how Ofuegbu was engaged to carry out data analysis of the presidential election.