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Election Tribunal Rejects 10 of Obi’s 13 Witnesses in Election Petition

A Nigerian court has rejected 10 out of 13 witnesses presented by Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, in his election petition against the winner of the 2023 presidential election, Bola Tinubu.

Justice Haruna Tsammani, who delivered the ruling on Wednesday, said the 10 witnesses were rejected because their witness statements on oath were not filed along with the petition.

Tsammani said that by virtue of section 285 of the Nigerian constitution, section 137(7) of the Electoral Act 2022, and other provisions, every witness statement on oath must be filed along with the petition.

He said that based on the Supreme Court authority, once the 21-day window for filing an election petition elapses, the content of the petition cannot be amended.

The Justice stated further that no additional statement on oath can be filed after the close of the specified window since the respondents would not have the opportunity to respond.

Tsammani said the petitioners were aware of the legal provision relating to the filing of witness statements on oath, yet went ahead to present 10 witnesses without their witness statements on oath earlier filed with the petition.

The ruling is a major setback for Obi’s petition, which is challenging the outcome of the election. It remains to be seen whether the petitioners will be able to present enough evidence to prove their case without the 10 witnesses.

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