Barristers & Solicitors
Witness’ absence stalls INEC’s opening defence of Mbah’s election victory
Peter Mbah

The absence of a witness on Tuesday stalled the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) from opening its defence in the petition filed by the Labour Party (LP) Governorship candidate, Chijioke Edeoga and his party.

Edeoga had on Sunday closed his case against Mbah and INEC after he tendered several documentary evidence and called a total of 30 witnesses that testified before the Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Enugu.

He is praying the tribunal to disqualify Mbah over an alleged NYSC certificate forgery and the manipulation of the election that produced him as governor.

However, at the resumed hearing where INEC was supposed to open its defense of the election, counsel to the commission, Mr H. Okoli told the court that the witness he had scheduled to testify could not make it to court.

“I got information as I was coming into the court that the witness missed his flight and cannot be in court,” he told the tribunal.

Okoli said that the first respondent had two days to defend the result of the March 18 governorship election.

“We are aware that they have only two days and humbly ask the court to grant them tomorrow (Wednesday) to come,” he said.

The lead counsel to Edeoga and LP, Mr A. Awomolo (SAN) did not oppose to the application made by Okoli

Also, Mbah’s and PDP’s counsel, Mr Ikechukwu Onuoma and Mr Anthony Ani (SAN) did not also oppose to it.

The Chairman of the three man Tribunal, Justice M. K Akano appealed to the second respondent’s counsel to be ready to open his case at close of the INEC’s case.

Akano adjourned the case till July 19 for continued hearing.