The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday fixed August 21 for final arguments in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
That day, the five-man tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba will announce a date for judgment after listening to the closing arguments of lawyers.
The tribunal may also decide to reserve the judgment that day and later communicate the date to lawyers representing the parties in the case.
The date of the judgment either announced on August 21 or later must be within the 180 days period (six months) from the date of filing of the petition which the law prescribes for the hearing and determination of an election petition.
With the petition filed on March 18, it implies that the judgment will be delivered before the middle of September.
The tribunal on Thursday adjourned for the adoption of final addresses following the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, the last two respondents to the petition, to close their case on Thursday.
The petitioners are by their petition challenging the victory of Buhari and the APC at the February 23, 2019, presidential poll.
The petitioners through their legal team led by Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), had on July 19 rested their case with 62 witnesses.
The first respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission, through its lead counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN), subsequently closed its case without calling any witnesses.
Buhari’s legal team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) which called seven witnesses between Tuesday and Wednesday, closed its case without calling additional witnesses on Thursday.
When asked for his reaction, the APC’s lead counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), also said on Thursday that he and the senior lawyers in his team found it unnecessary to call any witness.
The five-man tribunal subsequently gave the three respondents to file and serve on the petitioners their final written addresses within three days starting from Monday (August 5).
The tribunal gave the petitioners seven days from the time they are served to file and serve on the respondents their final written addresses.
It gave the respondents two days to, if necessary, file their final addresses in reply to the petitioners’ addresses.
Justice Mohammed announced that the closing of final addresses would close on August 16.
He then fixed August 21 for the adoption of the final addresses by the lawyers representing the parties in the case.
The date for judgment in the case would be announced by the tribunal that day.