January 27, 2021

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Tribunal fixes Buhari/Atiku final arguments for August 21

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The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday fixed August 21 for final arguments in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

On that day, the five-man tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba will announce a date for judgment after listening to the closing arguments by lawyers.

The tribunal may also decide to reserve the judgment that day and later communicate the date to lawyers representing the parties in the case.

The date of the judgment must be within the 180 days (six months) period from the date the petition was filed, which the law prescribes for the hearing and determination of an election petition.

Since the petition was filed on March 18, it implies the judgment will be delivered before the middle of September.

The tribunal on Thursday adjourned for adoption of final addresses following the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, the last two respondents to the petition, to close their case on Thursday.

The petitioners are challenging the victory of Buhari and the APC at the February 23, 2019 presidential poll.

The petitioners, through their legal team led by Dr Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), had on July 19 rested their case with 62 witnesses.

The first respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission, through its lead counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN), subsequently closed its case without calling any witness.

Buhari’s legal team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), which called seven witnesses between Tuesday and Wednesday, closed its case without calling additional witnesses on Thursday.

When asked for his reaction, the APC’s lead counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), also said on Thursday that he and the senior lawyers in his team found it unnecessary to call any further witness.

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