The Senate Majority Leader, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, has told the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) sitting in Abuja that the $460,000 forfeiture judgement tendered in evidence by the petitioners was not strong enough to warrant the nullification of President Bola Tinubu’s election.
Bamidele, who was Tinubu’s only witness, said the president was not charged, arraigned, indicted, or sentenced for any criminal offence by any court in the United States.
The lawmaker said this after the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) closed its case against the election petition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at the tribunal on Wednesday, July 5, 2023.
Bamidele, who is also a lawyer, said the judgement of the U.S. court on the forfeiture of $460,000 had Tinubu’s name on it but not as a criminal proceeding but as civil proceeding.
“As far as criminal indictment is concerned, Tinubu has a clean bill of health because he was never indicted and convicted by any court in the United States,” he added.
The witness told the court that he had known Tinubu for over 35 years, adding that in all those years, he knew the president as a bonafide Nigerian citizen by birth.
While answering questions posed by counsel for the petitioners, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, the witness said Tinubu did not need to score 25 per cent of votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to be declared winner of the February 25, 2023, presidential election.
Bamidele stated the president did not need to win the election in his home state to be declared the winner.
The witness stressed that Abuja was simply the federal capital city and has no special status attached to it.
He agreed with the petitioners’ counsel that President Tinubu scored 19.4 per cent of the total votes cast in FCT.
The witness, who was led in evidence by Tinubu’s counsel, Wole Olanipekin, SAN, said a judgement of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, in a suit filed by the Labour Party (LP) on the mode of collation of election results, held that INEC was at liberty to use any mode of collation it deemed fit.
With the sole witness, Olanipekun announced the closure of Tinubu’s defence against the petition filed by the PDP and Atiku.
The closing of the defence by Tinubu and the APC marks the end of one phase and takes the case filed by PDP and Atiku to its next phase which is the exchanging of final written addresses among parties and closing arguments.
The presiding judge of the five-member panel, Justice Haruna Tsammani, gave the respondents, INEC, APC, and Tinubu 10 days to file their final written addresses; the petitioners have seven days to respond, while the respondents have another five days to reply on points of law.
Justice Tsammani added that the parties would be communicated on the date for the adoption of the final written addresses.
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