381 views | Emmanuel Anthony | August 28, 2019
Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Sylva Ogwemoh SAN, in the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has said that the commission did not find it necessary to call witnesses.
He said this was because the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Nsima Ekere had not given them any reason to have done that.
Speaking to reporters shortly after adjournment on Tuesday, Ogwemoh said the burden to prove allegations in the petition rests on the petitioners, a duty they have failed to perform.
Earlier at the Tribunal, Ugwuemoh had announced that having considered the petition and the evidence presented before the tribunal, there was nothing on the bench for INEC counsels to stress themselves any further.
“We have calmly considered the Petition and evidence of the first and second respondents, we are of the opinion that calling additional witnesses is not necessary.
“In the circumstance, we adopt the evidence of first and second respondents and we rest our case on the case of the first and second respondents,” Ugwueme added.
Counsel to the PDP, Tayo Oyetibo, SAN had closed the defense of the second Respondent after calling 11 witnesses and told the Tribunal they would not call additional witnesses as evidence given by the PDP Witnesses and those of the 1st Respondent were sufficient in the matter.
Counsel to the Petitioners, Jibrin Okutekpa, SAN, thanked the tribunal, saying he enjoyed the support of his learned brothers in the case.
Also addressing the tribunal, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, Counsel to the 1st Respondent, registered gratitude to Tribunal for accommodating all Counsels.
The Tribunal Chairman, Justice A. M. Yakubu noted that the three-man Panel enjoyed the cooperation of Counsel, adding that the Tribunal is not surprised by the cooperation because of the capacity of the senior counsels involved.
Yakubu noted that the position taken by the Counsel on the final written address was good but for lack of time, he announced five days for filing of written addresses for both Petitioners and Respondents.
He also said they have three days to file a reply on point of law.
The Tribunal adjourned to September 10, 2019, for the adoption of written address.