Umuahia, Aug. 20, 2019
Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday closed his defence at the National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, Abia.
Abaribe, the second respondent in the petition filed by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and its candidate, Mr Chris Nkwonta, closed his defence after calling four witnesses.
Nkwonta had approached the court to nullify the declaration of the Senate Minority Leader as the winner of the Feb. 23 poll for Abia South Senatorial District.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nkwonta, who claimed to have won the majority of the lawful votes cast, is urging the tribunal to declare him winner.
Nkwonta closed his case after calling 33 witnesses, while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) closed its defence as the first respondent, after calling one witness.
In an application to close his defence, Mr Chukwuma-Machukwu Umeh (SAN), counsel for Abaribe, told the tribunal that they were satisfied with the evidence of their witnesses.
“We are very grateful to this honourable tribunal. We are very satisfied with the evidence we have led and we will be closing our defence as the second respondent,” Umeh said.
Following the application, Mr Henry Balogu, counsel for PDP, told the tribunal that they would open their defence as the third respondent.
“We have been taken by surprise. We are asking for Thursday, Aug. 22 to open and close our defence the same day,” he said.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Adeyinka Adebirigbe, later adjourned sitting to Aug. 22 for the third respondent (PDP) to open its defence.