The presidential election court made the pronouncement in its judgement being delivered on the petition filed by Mr Obi and his party to challenge the election of President Bola Tinubu.
The Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja has rejected the testimonies and exhibits tendered by 10 out of the 13 witnesses presented by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party,Peter Obi.
Haruna Tsammani, the head of the five-member bench, made the pronouncement in his judgement on the petition filed by Mr Obi and his party to challenge the election of President Bola Tinubu.
The judge is still reading the judgement as of the time of filing this report.
He said the witness statements on oath of the 10 witnesses, who were subpoenaed to testify in the case, were not competent and could not be recognised by the court.
This, the judge said, was because they were not filed along with the petition as of the close of the 21 days within which the petitioners must file their case.
Mr Tsammani, who was ruling on the objection of Mr Tinubu and other respondents to the petition, held that the witness statements on oath of the witnesses having been declared incompetent, the 10 witnesses were also not competent to testify in the case.
“They are therefore not the witnesses of this court,” Mr Tsammani ruled.
He said the petitioners were aware of the legal provision relating to the filing of witness statements on oath yet went ahead to present 10 witnesses without their witness statements on oath earlier filed with the petition.
Mr Tsammani said under section 285 of the Nigerian constitution, section 137(7) of the Electoral Act 2022, and other provisions, every witness statement on oath must be filed along with the petition.
He said that based on the Supreme Court authority, once the 21-day window for filing an election petition lapses, the content of the petition cannot be amended.
He said further that no additional statement on oath can be filed after the close of the window since the respondents would not have the opportunity to respond to it.
The court, therefore,. rejected the exhibits tendered by the affected 10 witnesses.
Mr Tsammani had said at the beginning of the judgement that Mr Obi called 13 witnesses who testified as PW1 to PW13.
Of the 13 witnesses, the judge said, only three are their witnesses whose statements on oath were filed along with the petition.
The remaining 10 witnesses were subpoenaed and their witness statements on oath were only filed after the hearing started.
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Publish date : 2023-09-06 15:34:21