Atiku’s Election Petition: Tribunal Fixes August 21 for Final Arguments As Buhari Closes Defence

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Buhari and Atiku

ABUJA –  The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday fixed August 21 for final arguments in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. 

This followed the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, the last two respondents to the petition, to close their case on Thursday. 

The petitioners are by their petition challenging the victory of Buhari and the APC at the February 23, 2019, presidential poll. 

The other respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission, had earlier closed its case without calling any witness. 

Buhari’s legal team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, which called seven witnesses between Tuesday and Wednesday closed its case without calling an additional witness on Thursday. 
 Wole Olanipekun had, after the usual introduction of teams, informed the court that the team has studied the petition of PDP and Atiku/Obi, the replies, the hardware and the software, evidences and that they are also very satisfied with the evidence they have provided before the court and would now close their case on point of law. 
Chief Latest Fagbemi, APC lead counsel, rose to respond and also opened their case in court as the 3rd Respondent. 
He also said that they are grateful to Chief Olanipekun and most grateful to the petitioners, the PDP and Atiku/Obi.
He said the APC would not be involved in any other overkill exercise on the matter.
He thereafter announced that the ruling party was satisfied with the case as they opened and closed their case as the 3rd Respondent without presenting any evidence or witness.
He however announced that they wish to begin submitting written final addresses in court on Monday August 5. 
This request was supported by all the parties in the case including INEC.
Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, lead counsel of the PDP and Atiku/Obi, while agreeing to the request, thanked the Buhari and the APC legal teams “for not wasting the time of the court and that of the petitioners on the matter since the issue before the court is clear”.He further requested that the petitioners be given seven days for their own submission of final written addresses. 

The five-man tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba subsequently gave the three respondents to file and serve on the petitioners their final written addresses within three days starting from Monday, August 5. 
The tribunal gave the petitioners seven days from the time they are served to file and serve on the respondents their final written addresses.

Justice Mohammed announced that the closing of final addresses would close on August 16. 

He then fixed August 21 for the adoption of the final addresses by the lawyers representing the parties in the case.

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