By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja.
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC on Monday in Abuja began its defence of the February 25 presidential election on a shaky note with non of its three witnesses present at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPEC).
Contrary to the scheduled activities of the court, INEC which conducted the disputed election and billed to open defence, came without any witness.
Its lead counsel and former President of the Nigeria Bar Association NBA, Abubakar Balarabe Mahmood SAN informed the court of his plan to call three witnesses to counter the allegations of the Labour Party LP and its Presidential candidate, Peter Gregory Obi.
He, however, lamented that non of the witnesses was in court due to domestic reasons.
The senior lawyer pleaded with the court to bear with him and applied for adjournment of his defense.
However, lead counsel to Peter Obi, Dr Livy Uzuoku SAN, expressed shock and surprise with the conduct of the electoral body.
He told the court that INEC lawyer ought to have taken him into confidence before the commencement of the proceedings.
However, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, who stood for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Prince Lateef Olasunkanmi Fagbemi SAN, who represented the All Progressives Congress APC, did not object to request for adjournment of INEC’S plea for the case to be shifted.
Presiding Justice of the Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani subsequently fixed a new date of July 4 for the electoral body to open its defence.