According to a review by Punch Metro, on Monday, the People’s Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, informed the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal that they agreed to cut the 14-day period that the law prescribes for them to call their witnesses to 10 days to prove the petition.
The respondents to the petition, comprising the Independent National Electoral Commission, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the All Progressives Congress, also agreed to cut the 10 days period which they are entitled to by law, to six.
Atiku and PDP, are by their petition challenging the victory of Buhari and the APC at the February 23 poll.
The petitioners’ lead counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), had earlier on Monday informed the Justice Mohammed Garba-led tribunal that his team had proposed to call 400 witnesses to prove the petitioners’ case, but would make do with the number of the witnesses they would be able to call within the period prescribed by law.
The Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-man tribunal said the 14 days period is prescribed under paragraph 16(3) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act.
Lawyers representing all the parties to the case then requested a stand-down for 30 minutes to agree on some common grounds ahead of the substantive hearing of the petition.
Reporting the outcome of the meeting after the tribunal resumed from its break, Uzoukwu, the petitioners’ lawyer, said, “We have agreed that instead of 14 days that we have to call our witnesses, we will take 10.
“The respondents have agreed to cut their 10 days to six days for each of them.
“Evidence-in-chief for what we call ‘ordinary witnesses’ will take five minutes.
“Cross-examination of such ordinary witnesses will take 10 minutes.
“Evidence-in-chief of expert/subpoenaed witnesses, 10 minutes.
“Cross-examination of same category of witnesses, 20 minutes.
“Re-examination of all witnesses, three minutes each.
“Objection to documents will be indicated at the point of tendering, and the address on it will be reserved till final address but will be isolated from the main address.
“Parties are to prepare the schedule of documents to be tendered, file them and exchanged them among themselves.”
The tribunal which earlier on Monday heard an application by the petitioners seeking the re-hearing of APC’s motion for the dismissal of their petition adjourned till Wednesday for hearing.
Buhari’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), with the agreement of other parties’ lawyers, proposed that the substantive hearing of the petition should commence on Thursday.
But Justice Garba said when the hearing would begin would be dependent on the outcome of the ruling to be delivered on Wednesday.