The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Monday, allocated 10 days to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to prove their allegation that the February 23 presidential election was rigged in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The five-member panel tribunal headed by Justice Mohammed Garba, equally gave President Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, who were cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents, respectively, six days each to defend the petition the PDP and Atiku lodged to challenge the outcome of the presidential election.
The tribunal took the decision after a brief meeting that was held by lead counsel to all the parties in the matter.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Garba had, before he okayed a 30-minute stand-down of the proceeding, noted that by the provision of Paragraph 16(3) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, the petitioners were, by law, allowed a maximum of 14 days to present their case against the election, while each of the respondents would take 10 days each to enter their defense.
When the tribunal reconvened after the stand-down, lead counsel to the petitioners, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, announced that all the parties had, at the end of the brief meeting, agreed that the time should be abridged.
Uzoukwu further told the tribunal that his clients had lined up a total of 400 witnesses that would be called to testify and give evidence in the course of the hearing. “We intend to call many witnesses as possible within the prescribed time”, he added.