The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Wednesday, failed to present any witness to defend the allegation by candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Chijioke Edeoga, that the 2023 governorship election that produced Peter Mbah as governor was manipulated.

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Enugu, had resumed its proceedings to enable the electoral body to call its first witness to justify its declaration of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the governorship election that held on March 18.

However, when the case was called up for hearing, INEC, through its team of lawyers led by Humphrey Okoli, told the court that the commission had decided not to bring any witness.

Okoli said: “The first respondent (INEC) is mandated to open the case. My Lord, after a thorough review of the case, we have decided not to bring in any witness”

Counsel for the PDP, Benjamin Nwosu and that of Peter Mbah did not oppose INEC. The PDP was expected to also open their case.

Though the party expressed its determination to produce witnesses to defend the outcome of the disputed governorship poll, it, however, told the tribunal that it would need an extension of time to enable them bring their witnesses.

Consequently, the PDP counsel, Nwosu, persuaded the tribunal to adjourn further proceedings in the matter for two hours, since, according to him, he had four days to defend put up defense.

According to the counsel for the PDP, the party would want to call up to nine witnesses to defend their case.

He said, “We are inclined to open our case today. However, we will need two hours to present our witnesses”.

Edeoga’s legal team led by Adegboyega Awomolo, did not oppose the application for an adjournment.

Consequent upon the development, the tribunal, deferred the case for two hours to enable the party to produce its first witness by 11 am today(Wednesday).


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