2015 Guber Polls: APC’s Lapse On Witnesses Data Stalls Trial @ Tribunal

 Nigeria, August 17, 2015, (Blank NEWS Online) – supr..court

Trial at the Delta State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, may have suffered setbacks due to the inability of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and its gubernatorial candidate, Olorogun Otega Emerhor, to provide details of the witnesses it intends to call.

Chairman of the three-man panel of tribunal, Justice Nasiru Gunmi had slated Monday, August 17, 2015 for commencement of substantive trial in the petition filed by APC and Labour Party challenging the  victory of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa at the polls.

The tribunal had subpoenaed seven witnesses to be called by  APC and Otega counsels to support their claims in the petition at the tribunal.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Monday, Counsel to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa,  PDP and  INEC, Dr. Alex Iziyion (SAN) and A.T Keyinde (SAN) respectively ,  raised a preliminary objection through  motion -on- notice,    challenging  the locus standi of APC and Otega to call seven witnesses without availing them  the opportunity of knowing the details of the witnesses.

Iziyion argued that, “we were ready to start the trial for this week, in respect of the seven witnesses they listed, suddenly we were confronted with subpoena for four witnesses for Thursday, before then they had applied for leave to call additional witnesses which the tribunal refused, we have raised objection to the four new witnesses they are proposing to call.

“Even the witness statements have not been served on us, so the issue is whether the witness summons was appropriate in the circumstance that is what we have raised for consideration”. 

Izyion expressed readiness to move the motion immediately  seeking details of the witnesses adding that “ we are ready to go on with the substantive trial once the information we are seeking about witness summons are made ready to us, let us open the box and see what is in it”.

It was at this point that Mr. Okpokor (SAN) sought leave of  the tribunal for extension of time to enable him respond to the motions as filed by INEC and PDP counsels.

After listinning to the arguments of all the counsels, Justice Gunmi adjourned to 20 August 2015 for the hearing of the motion from the respondents.    

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