By Abimbola Ogunnaike
The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal presided over by Justice Haruna Tsammani has rejected 10 out of 13 witnesses presented by the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party(LP), Peter Obi.
Tsammani, who took over to deliver judgment on the substantive petition filed by Obi and LP against the President Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), said this on Wednesday, 6 September, 2023.
According to Tsammani, Obi called 13 witnesses, who testified as PW1 to PW13, explaining that that of the 13 witnesses, only three witnesses whose statements are on oath, were filed along with the petition.
The remaining 10 witnesses, Tsamammani, were subpoenaed and their witness statements on oath were only filed after the hearing started.
The justice held that by virtue of 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.
Tsammani also explained further that based on the Supreme Court authority, once the 21-day window for filing an election petition elapses, the content of the petition cannot be amended.
The justice stated further that no additional statement on oath can be filed after the close of the specified window since the respondents would not have the opportunity to respond.
According to Tsammani, 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.