Tribunal dismisses application by PDP for additional witnesses

The Borno National and State Houses of Assembly elections petition tribunal on Tuesday dismissed an application filed by the Peoples Democratic Party for extension of time to file a list of additional witnesses.

Mallam Kudla Satumari and PDP had on March 15, filed a petition with number EPT/BO/SEN/1/2019 before the tribunal.

They are challenging the declaration of Sen. Mohammed Ndume of All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the Borno South Senatorial District election.

APC and INEC were also joined in the suit.

Satumari and PDP brought an application before the tribunal seeking for extension of time to file list of additional witnesses on oath.

At the resumed hearing, the petitioners‘ counsel Mr Allison Citta told the tribunal that they filed a motion on April 30, seeking the leave of the tribunal to file list of additional witnesses on oath.

He said this would help to support the petitioners’ petition and help the tribunal have a better understanding of the petition and therefore urged the tribunal to grant his application.

Mr Marcel Oru, Ndume’s counsel objected to the petitioners’ application for a list of additional witnesses on oath.

He said he filed a counter affidavit on May 4, pointing out that the application was a calculated attempt by the petitioners to amend their petition.

He, therefore, urged the tribunal to refuse it.

Mr Ayo Olarenwaju, counsel for APC said they filed their counter equally on May 4, in opposition to the application.

He informed the Tribunal that he adopted the argument of the 1st respondent’ s counsel and in addition, the period for amendment as stipulated by law had elapsed.

“At this stage, amendments are not allowed as stipulated by the law,” he said.

INEC counsel, Mr Oluwafemi Ademola, though, had not filed counter, aligned with the arguments of the 1st and 2nd respondents ‘ counsel.

He, therefore, urged the tribunal to disregard the application.

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The tribunal headed by Justice Peter Kekemeke after listening to objections by respondents counsel ruled that the application lacks merit.

Kekemeke said going by the definition of the amendment, it means to improve, change for better by removing defects.

“In the circumstance what the petitioners seek to do by this motion is to amend the petition because the amendment is coming after the period permitted by law.

”The list of witnesses attached before was abandoned and a new set of witnesses were introduced by the petitioners, it was an indirect application to amend the petition.

”The application lacks merit and it is dismissed,” he held.

He then adjourned until May 14 for hearing of preliminary objections by the respondents.

 

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