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Fear Of Additional Witnesses Grips Umana Umana...How Petitioner’s Lawyer Stopped PDP

By Mfonobong Ukpong, Abuja
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An application by the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to introduce additional witnesses at the ongoing Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal, Abuja, has met stiff resistance from the petitioner, Mr. Umana Umana.

Making his application before the Justice Umar Sadir-chaired 3-Man panel, counsel to the PDP Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) maintained that if granted, their request for additional witness will not affect the stipulated time allotted to him by the Tribunal.

Oyetibo said his request is in line with existent provisions of the evidence act, especially since the fresh witnesses are not bringing any twist to the pattern of evidence of the previous witnesses.

The PDP referred the tribunal to its earlier rulings on August 20th and 21st 2015, in which a similar application for fresh witnesses by the petitioner was granted. 44 days to make their case while the 1st, 2nd, 3rd 4th and 5th respondents had 14 days, but asserted that since the petitioner was allegedly crying for Justice, the appearances of the new witnesses who they will cross examined, is not going to prevent “Justice”.

However, in objecting “vehemently” Solomon Umoh who appeared for the petitioner, said the reasons advanced by the 2nd respondent for the additional witnesses was not sufficient grounds for it to be granted.

Umoh argued that since the 2nd respondent is insisting that the additional witnesses are still with the existing pattern of testimonies by earlier witnesses, it is a sheer waste of judicial time.

“My Lord, repetition does not advance a case” adding that the application is speculative and bereft of reason.

Tayo had also informed the tribunal that most of their witnesses had been subpoenaed at other tribunals, apparently referring to the Senatorial Tribunal and the House of Assembly tribunals which are at separate locations.

The Tribunal however ruled against the application by PDP saying that the reasons advanced were not sufficient.

Only one party, the PDP was present in the tribunal.

Although it is unclear why Mr. Umana Umana is opposed the appearance of the new witnesses, some legal experts believe that it is a tactical maneuver to buy time and prevent PDP from further exposing their lies and inflicting fresh damages on their petition.

“You can see that Solomon Umoh(SAN) and Victor Iyanam(Esq) have since replaced Wole Olanipekun who had given up following their recent poor run in the tribunal,” a young lawyer who is always present in the tribunal for none of the parties told our reporter.

As soon as the ruling to the objection was rendered, young yoruba boys suspected to have been hired by Mr Umana Umana started chanting Yoruba songs and celebrating with the APC Deputy Governorship candidate, Mr Ben Ekpo who was seen doling some 'change' from his pockets to them.

It was not very clear why the APC hired youths numbering over 30 were celebrating, when it was obvious to everyone that the ruling against additional witnesses for PDP did not tantamount to victory for APC in the Governorship Tribunal.

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