PDP, Atiku plead with tribunal for more time

The Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Friday asked for more time from the five-man Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja, to conclude their case.

Friday is the last of the ten days allocated to them to make their case.

They are by their petition challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at February 23, 2019 election.

The petitioners, who only on Thursday received from the Independent National Electoral Commission a heap of documents to be tendered as an exhibit, gave the hint that they would not be able to conclude their case on Friday through their lawyer Chief Chris Uche (SAN).

The documents received from INEC rose from 55 cartons as of when the tribunal closed proceedings on Thursday to 75 as of Friday morning.

Uche couched his request for more time as “a modification of the pre-hearing report” in which 10 days period was allocated to the petitioners to present their case and six days for each of the respondents to present their defence.

He said, “Today may appear to be our last day. But my lords, we are seeking a modification of the pre-hearing report.

“Today should not be construed as our last day.

“We asking if my lords can give us tomorrow, Monday or Tuesday for us to conclude.”

Earlier, Justice Mohammed Garba who heads the five-man tribunal, had said the court would not have the afternoon session of the Friday’s proceedings for undisclosed reasons.

Reacting, Buhari’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), insisted that should the court grant the “extension of time” it should be across the board for all the three respondents – INEC, Buhari and the All Progressives Congress.

Olanipekun also suggested that the court could only compensate the petitioners’ time that would be lost since the court would not sit in the afternoon by being allowed to conclude their case in the morning session of the next sitting day.

But the tribunal said that the petitioners had not asked for an extension of time but for a modification of the pre-hearing session.

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