President Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) closed the case against the election petition of Alhaji Abubakar Atiku and the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) on Wednesday in Abuja without calling a single witness.
Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, for the APC, told the court that there was no point “whipping a dead horse,” because the evidence of President Bola Tinubu’s sole witness, Sen. Opeyemi Bamide, was sufficient to harm the petitioners’ case.
“Having taken a sober reflection of the entire case, we have enough evidence, and we are not calling any witnesses.
”We do not intend to whip a dead horse, we announce the closure of the case of the third respondent (the APC),” Fagbemi said.
Fagbemi took this position after cross-examining Bamidele, Tinubu’s star witness.
Bamidele, who is also a lawyer, told the court that the petitioners’ forfeiture judgement of $460,000 was insufficient to warrant the nullification of Tinubu’s election.
According to the witness, Tinubu’s name was on the judgement of the US court on the forfeiture of $460,000, but not as a criminal proceeding, but as a civil proceeding.
The witness insisted that it was not a criminal forfeiture but a civil one.
Tinubu was not charged, arraigned, indicted, or sentenced for any criminal offence by any court in the United States, according to Bamidele, the Senate Majority Leader.
”As far as criminal indictment is concerned, Tinubu has a clean bill of health because he was never indicted and convicted by any court in the United States.”
The witness testified in court that he had known President Tinubu for over 35 years, and that during that time, he had known the president as a genuine Nigerian citizen by birth.
Responding to questions from counsel for the petitioners, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, the witness stated that Tinubu did not need to receive 25% of votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to be declared the winner of the Feb. 25 presidential election.
He also said that the president did not need to win the election in his home state to be declared the winner.
The witness insisted that Abuja was simply the federal capital city, with no special status.
He agreed with the petitioners’ counsel that President Tinubu received 19.4% of the votes cast in the FCT.
Mr Wole Olanipekin, SAN, Tinubu’s counsel, testified that a judgement of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in a suit filed by the Labour Party on the mode of collation of election results, held that INEC was free to use any mode of collation it deemed fit.
The witness also told the court that he was licensed to practice at the New York Bar in the United States as well.
Olanipekun also announced the conclusion of Tinubu’s defence against the petition filed by the PDP and Atiku.
Reports show that the closing of the defence by Tinubu and the APC marks the end of one phase and takes the case filed by the PDP and Atiku to its next phase, which is the exchanging of final written addresses among parties and closing arguments.
Justice Haruna Tsammani, the panel’s presiding judge, gave the respondents, INEC, APC, and Tinubu, 10 days to file their final written addresses, while the petitioners have seven days to respond and the respondents have another five days to respond on points of law.
According to Justice Tsammani, the date for the adoption of the final written addresses will be communicated to the parties.
Also, further reports show that Atiku came in second in the Feb. 25 presidential election, but he is urging the court to overturn Tinubu’s victory on account of electoral fraud and non-compliance with statutory provisions in the conduct of the election.