The governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Umuahia has struck out the application by counsels to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for four days extention of time to enable their witnesses give testimony. see why below:
This is even as the tribunal had earlier in the week also refused APGA to tender to the court from the Bar One of the INEC electoral material said to be used during the last election during the cross examination of 1RW15.
APGA governorship candidate, Dr Alex Otti, is contesting in the tribunal, the election of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, of Abia State and had joined the PDP and INEC in the suit seeking that he be declared winner of the April 11 governorship election.
In their separate arguments for extention of time, counsels to the APGA candidate, Prof Awa Kalu (SAN) and Rotimi Akeredolu had said that the electoral Act permits them 14 days which was abridged to seven days within which they could put up their case and present their witnesses to testify.
However, counsels to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents, including chief Wole Olanikpekun (SAN), Paul Ananaba (SAN) and others argued that the application is incompetent and illegal in that the presiding judge had previously issued a pre-hearing order.
The PDP counsels further argued that for the application to be valid, there must be an application to discharge the order already given by the presiding judge, arguing further that the tribunal had earlier drawn a time schedule which was agreed by both parties and thus it would be improper for any party to ask for an extension period within the 180 days allotted for the tribunal.
In his ruling the tribunal chairman, justice Usman Bwala, struck out the motion on constitutional grounds, relying on paragragh 18 of the 1st schedule of the Electoral Act