By Damian Akpan
Today, Thursday, July 4, 2019, Obong Nsima Ekere prayed the court for leave to file additional witnesses statement on oath and list of witnesses in support of his Petition.
Opposing the prayer of the Petitioner, the Respondents urged the court not to grant the prayers noting that the prayer is made after pre-hearing had long been closed and the period prescribed for such application ended, given the peculiar nature of election cases. The Respondents further argued that granting the prayers of the petitioner to file additional witnesses would be to re-open the case and would, if allowed necessitate the Respondents to also open their own case to bring in new witnesses in the interest of Justice.
Supporting the argument that the prayer to add additional witnesses cannot be entertained after the end of the period prescribed for it by the rules of practice of the Tribunal, in practice often within pre-hearing, Oyetibor, SAN counsel to the 2nd Respondent cited the Court of Appeal cases of Nwoye vs Madubueze and APC vs. Marafa and further emphasized the position that the the petitioner is well out of time in making the application and that granting the prayer will be a miscarriage of Justice.
The court then requested counsel to supply all their additional authorities and stood down the matter to 1pm for its considered ruling.