Sunday Ejike Benjamin
The Presidential Election Request Court yesterday ended sitting and reserved judgment for a future day of the month in a lawsuit instituted by two resistance political parties asking the tribunal to invalidate President Umaru Genus Musa Yar'adua's election.
The Presidential Candidates of the All Federal Republic Of Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and the Action United States Congress (AC), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar take a firm stand the April election was flawed and must be cancelled.
The court yesterday turned down an application by Atiku to tender a written written written written document titled, "Independent National Electoral Commission: The Official Report On the 2007 General Election", as an exhibit in his petition.
The actinium campaigner had applied to tender the document to authenticate his claim that the INEC chairman, Prof. Maurice Iwu's, answer to interrogatories on the awarding of contract for the production of voters' card contradicted his statement in the report.
The court upheld the expostulation of President Yar'adua, saying the application was out of clip and that if the suppliant knew it was critical to his lawsuit he would have got got got tendered it earlier.
Atiku's Pb counsel, Prof. Aelfred Babatunde Kasumu (SAN), had complained that Iwu's answers, to the interrogatories served on him contradicted his business relationship in the said study and accused him of perjury.
Arguing in favor of his application to tender Iwu's study on the election before the tribunal, Kasumu said the study is a public document that incorporates facts on the behavior of the election and is certified by the INEC boss.
Yar'adua's counsel, Head Wole Olanipekun (SAN), objected to the application on respective grounds, including that it was neither pleaded nor was any witnesser statement attached to the petition.
Olanipekun, who objected to Atiku's application to tender the study before the tribunal, described the move as an maltreatment of the procedures of the court, arguing that Atiku's application is a misdemeanor of the Practice Directive of the tribunal, saying that the former frailty president ought to have tendered the document along with his petition.
According him, "we are not at the computer address stage; counsels' turns to have been filed and exchanged, accepting anything at this phase will be contrary to the Practice Directive. There is no affidavit evidence to demo any circumstance to justify admissibility of Atiku's written written document at this phase of the matter".
INEC's advocate Head Kanu Agabi (SAN) said Atiku's application is uncalled for and lacked footing as it is coming long after the termination of the clip for tendering of the document.
The presiding judge, Justice Jesse James Ogebe, in his opinion dismissed the application on the grounds that he (Kasumu) was out of clip and that if he had known that the study supported his lawsuit he ought to have got tendered it earlier.
Buhari and Atiku are contesting that the April 21, 2007 presidential election was not conducted in significant conformity with the Electoral Act 2006.
In his entry on the request filed by Buhari, INEC's counsel, Head Kanu Agabi (SAN), said the request could not stand up up because his party, the ANPP and his running-mate, Head Ume Eze-oke had withdrawn from the petition.
He said there is no manner they would contend the consequences of the election when they did not take part in the it and argued that there were 36 states in the state and the Federal Soldier Capital District but that the suppliant lone challenged the consequences of only four states.
Agabi said, "Even if election were to be cancelled in these states, the election would still be able to stand. Apart from the fact that abnormalities have got got not been proved, they have not been attributed to the 5th and 6th respondent (INEC and Professor Maurice Iwu). The abnormalities must be proved. If they are not proved, they amount to nothing.
"The law take a firm stands on significant conformity not entire or perfect compliance. The law states that if the elections are bad, it must be obvious. If you (the petitioner) have got to tender 30,000 documents, it intends that the election was well documented.
"A lawsuit is only said to be good if it is well presented. There is no lawsuit before this tribunal, the suppliant have not presented his lawsuit well. I urge on this tribunal to disregard this petition". Agabi stated.
In his argument, Olanipekun said that the witnessers in the request are mainly from International Maritime Organization State, saying that the witnessers did not give a graphic business relationship of what happened in other states.
"An election of this magnitude can't be voided on the grounds of hear-say. No adult male is omnipotent. They are not God. They did not utilize any periscope to cognize what happened in other parts of the country", he said.
Page 1 of 2