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Details of Court of Appeal pre-hearing which consolidated Obi & Atiku’s petitions

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REPORT OF THE PREPEC 2023 PRE-HEARING SESSION

The Petition by Mr. Peter Gregory Obi and Labour Party was filed on the 20th of March, 2023.

In the Pre-hearing Session held from the 8th of May, 2023 to the 20th of May, 2023 the following were considered by the Honorable Court.

JOINDER OF PARTIES: No joiner of additional parties was made during the pre-hearing period.

AMENDMENTS: Vide motion filed on 19th April, 2023, the 1st Respondent (INEC) sought for and obtained an order of court on 20th May, 2023 amending the list of its witnesses.

ORDER OF WITNESSES: From the submissions of the parties, there are a total of 83witnesses to be called in this Petition

INTERPRETER:2nd and 3rd Respondents Tinubu and Shettima indicated they will require services of an interpreter to interpret proceedings from English to Hausa and vice versa.

The 4th Respondent APC also stated that it may require interpreters to interpret the proceedings from English language to other Nigerian languages as the need arises.

EXPERTS: All the parties indicated that they may call expert witnesses.

SETTLEMENT OUT-OF-COURT: Parties stated that no settlement out of Court is being contemplated.

ASSISTANCE BY COURT: All parties categorically stated that they cannot be assisted by the Court without a hearing. So, all the parties subscribed to the hearing of the petition.

SETTLEMENT OF DOCUMENTS: Parties emphasized they will rely on list of documents contained in their respective pleading. At the pre-hearing, parties indicated they will not object to documents properly certified by INEC, but reserved respective rights to object to other documents

INTERLOCUTORY APP: 11 interlocutory applications were made by parties. Rulings on those preliminary objections and other interlocutory applications were, in line with the mandatory provision of section 285(8) of the 1999constitution, suspended to be delivered at final judgement

The Petitioners also filed an application for live streaming of court proceedings. After hearing the application, the court found that the it relates to a matter of judicial policy which is outside the jurisdictional mandate of the PREPEC. Thus, the Court struck out the application.

SETTLEMENT OF ISSUES: Parties filed and adopted their respective issues for determination.

As parties have not agreed on issues to be determined, the Tribunal shall after consideration of all the issues by parties & evidence adduced at trial, distill the issues for determination.

EXAMINATION AND CROSS-EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES: The Petitioners stated that they have 50 witnesses and sought for seven weeks to present their case.

Since it is apparent that the parties were unable to fully agree on the modalities for examination &cross examination of witnesses the Court hereby orders that, in line with paragraph 41(3) of the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2022, there shall be no oral examination of witnesses, save to lead their respective witnesses to adopt their written depositions on oath and identify documents where required.

For star witnesses, their examination in chief shall be for a maximum period of 30min while cross examination& re-examination shall be for 20 and 5 min, respectively. For other witnesses, 10 min each for examination in chief and cross examination shall be allowed &5min for re-examination.

Where Respondents are cross examining each other they shall have 5 minutes to do so. Given the time bound nature of this petition, the time so allotted shall be monitored and strictly enforced
by the Court.

PRESENTATION OF CASES BY THE PARTIES: Given the time bound nature of this proceedings:

Petitioners have 3weeks to prove their case. The 1st,2nd&3rd Respondents shall have 5 days each to present their cases, while the 4thRespondents shall have 3days within which to present its case.

CONSOLIDATION OF ACTION: In line with requirement of Paragraph 50 of the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act,2022, this Court determined that this Petition be consolidated with Petitions Nos. CA/PEPC/04/2023 and CA/PEPC/05/2023 since they all relate to the same election and return.

ADDITIONAL PRE-HEARING SESSION: No extension of the pre-hearing period was made. Hearing shall commence on Tuesday, the 30th day of May, 2023. The Registry shall issue the requisite Hearing Notice as required by Paragraph 20(1) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2022. Read more.

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