Witness urges tribunal to declare HDP candidate president
A Witness called yesterday by Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Yusuf Ibrahim, has told the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to declare candidate of the party, Chief Albert Owuru, winner of the election.
The witness predicated his call on a referendum reportedly conducted across the country on February 16, the day the presidential election was initially slated.
Ibrahim, who was led in evidence by HDP’s lawyer, Eze Nnayelugo, told the tribunal that Owuru emerged president in a referendum conducted by Citizens Observers Referendum Election Rights Protection of Nigeria on February 16 by over 50 million Nigerians.
The witness described the shift of the election to February 23 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as illegal, unconstitutional and a nullity, as the conditions for the shift were not met by INEC.
Ibrahim insisted that the referendum held physically across the country and not in the spiritual realm as claimed by President Muhammadu Buhari, All Progressives Congress (APC) and INEC.
He tendered some documents, among which are copies of major newspapers to buttress his claim on the referendum.
The witness also alleged unlawful exclusion of HDP in the February 23 poll by INEC that refused to put its original logo on the ballot papers as done to other parties by INEC.
Under cross-examination by INEC’s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN), the witness admitted that INEC had sole responsibility of conducting election for the country, but argued that the electoral body lacked powers to shift the election, which he said prompted Nigerians to opt for a referendum.
As the party closed its case, the tribunal fixed August 5 for parties to adopt their final addresses.
This followed the decision of INEC, Buhari and APC not to call any witness to debunk HDP’s claims, but to rely on the party’s sole witness for their defence in the petition.
Owuru and the HDP had in their petition filed on March 7, 2019 canvassed nullification of the election of Buhari on three grounds.
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