By Andy Chukwu
The Hope Democratic Party (HDP), on Monday closed its case at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in its petition asking for the nullification of President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election, after calling just a single witness.
The party is asking the tribunal to nullify the election of President Muhammadu Buhari on the grounds that the government allegedly postponed the election “illegally”.
The party also claimed that its presidential candidate, Ambrose Owuru, would have emerged successful in a referendum which it claimed held on February 16.
The party had, at the end of its pre-hearing session, told the tribunal that it had a witness on a subpoena to present before closing its case.
At the opening of session on Monday, however, the HDP presented its first witness, Yusuf Ibrahim, who told the tribunal that he participated in the alleged referendum.
Ibrahim said the referendum was held on February 16, although it was not conducted by Nigeria’s electoral umpire, INEC.
After Ibrahim left the witness box, the petitioner’s lawyer, Eze Nnanyelugo, told the court about their second witness, Annah Pater, who had appeared in court following a directive contained in a subpoena issued by the tribunal.
Nnanyelugo, however, could not provide the court with copies of the witness’ statement of oath, forcing him to withdraw the subpoenaed witness, shortly after he was docked.
Nnanyelugo subsequently applied for the closure of the HDP’s case.
In reactions, the various respondents told the tribunal that they saw no need to open their defence in the matter.
The tribunal chairman, Garba Mohammed, then asked the petitioners to file their final addresses within two days while the respondents respond to final addresses within the same period.
The court said parties should conclude their filing regarding the matter on July 27. The case was adjourned till August 5 for the adoption of the final addresses.
The HDP is the second party to close its case in the ongoing hearing by the presidential election petition tribunal.
The Peoples Democratic Party had closed its case on July 19 after presenting 62 witnesses.
The third party currently before the tribunal, the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), is expected to open its case on July 24.